Posted on Nov 29, 2019 in Family Law by Katie Fulton
This week saw the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. According to statistics released by the UN, 1 in 3 women and girls experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, most frequently by a spouse or partner. Importantly, this figure does not account for those who suffer other forms of abuse at the hands of a spouse or partner.
In Scotland in 2017-18, there were 59,541 incidents of domestic abuse recorded by the police. Domestic abuse can describe a multitude of different types of behaviour, including physical or sexual violence, financial or economic abuse, harassment or stalking and other coercive control.
This year the law in Scotland was changed to recognise psychological abuse as a form of domestic abuse. All abuse towards a partner, whether psychological or physical, is a now a criminal offence.
If you experience domestic abuse, it is essential to seek help with the emotional, practical and legal repercussions.
If you have suffered domestic abuse, Thorntons can help you deal with the legal repercussions. In an emergency situation contacting the police should be the first consideration. If arrests are made, a partner or spouse can be given special bail conditions which prevent them from approaching you and causing further harm. These normally remain in place until the trial has taken place. Police Scotland can also provide advice on more practical measures which can be put in place to help protect you such as personal alarms.
You may have concerns about what will happen after any criminal trial. In this situation, we can assist you in applying to the Civil Court for an interdict. This can help provide protection beyond a criminal trial as, similar to any bail conditions, it can stop a former partner or spouse from coming to your home, approaching you or treating you in an abusive way.
Orders can also be obtained to prevent a former partner or spouse from contacting you. Alongside an interdict, an application for powers of arrest can usually be made. Police Scotland is notified which means that if a former partner or spouse attempts to breach the interdict, the police can arrest them without requiring a warrant. Breach of a domestic abuse interdict can see an individual facing criminal sanction, including but not limited to imprisonment.
If you chose to remain in the family home, an exclusion order can prevent a former partner or spouse from entering the family home. This can be done even where the property is jointly owned. Certain requirements must be met before a Court will grant one. We can help you determine whether this is available to you.
Emotional and practical support can be found from a number of organisations.
Women’s Aid offer advice and services, including providing refuge where someone is looking to move away from a home because of a partner and spouse’s behaviour. More information on the support offered can be found at www.scottishwomensaid.org.uk.
Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline offers a helpline which you can call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The details can be found at www.sdafmh.org.uk.
Women are of course not the only group to suffer domestic abuse. A new organisation called FearLess can offer support to anyone suffering domestic abuse. More information about their services can be found at www.fearless.scot. The service is listed as being Edinburgh based but is offered across various parts of Scotland.
Katie Fulton is a Solicitor in our specialist Family Law team. If you have any questions about, or need assistance in dealing with domestic abuse please contact Katie on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01382 229111.
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