Domestic Abuse

Domestic Abuse is a pattern of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and or violent behaviour, including sexual violence/rape, by a partner or ex-partner, someone with whom a person is or has been in a relationship with.

Physical, mental, sexual, emotional or financial abuse is overwhelmingly experienced by women and perpetrated by men.  Domestic abuse does not discriminate and anyone can be a victim of abuse, irrespective of age, race, religion, ability, sexuality.  

The Law in Scotland recognises that controlling and coercive behaviour is a criminal act, as noted in the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 and the legislation came into force on 1st April 2019.

In October 2020, a new law has been proposed by Scottish Government to allow the Police and Courts the power to remove suspected abuser from their victim's home.  This new legislation will ban them from re-entering for two months using Domestic Abuse Protection Orders, offering immediate protection to victims.

It would also create a new power for social landlords to end the tenancy of a perpetrator of domestic abuse and transfer their lease to the victim, should they wish to remain in the property.


Domestic Abuse Statistics 2022-2023

  • Police Scotland recorded 61,934 incidents of domestic abuse in 2022-23, a decrease of 4% compared to the previous year 
  • West Lothian recorded 148 incidents per 10,000 population, higher than the national average.
  • Four in five incidents of domestic abuse had a female victim and a male accused.

A full breakdown of the Scottish domestic abuse statistics can be found on Police Scotland Domestic Abuse statistics 2022-2023 (opens new window)

The Disclosure Scheme for Domestic Abuse Scotland (DSDAS) (opens new window) gives people the right to ask about the background of their partner. Since 2018, applications have risen from 20 to 131 in West Lothian in 2021.


What you need to know about Domestic Abuse

  • You and your children have a right to be safe
  • Anyone can experience Domestic Abuse
  • Domestic Abuse is never your fault. The abuser is responsible
  • You do have options and there are organisations that can help you
  • You and your children can recover from the effects of Domestic Abuse and move on with your lives

Thanks to Dawn Ross -Children's Rights Officer Court Contact - for telling us how her role helps improve those suffering from abuse.