Guide

Domestic abuse: support

Last updated: 7 August 2017

Contacting the police

If you or your children are in immediate danger and need help, call 999.

If you're experiencing domestic abuse (or have witnessed it) and are worried about your safety or the safety of a child, you can report it by:

What happens after reporting domestic abuse

The police will help and protect you when you report domestic abuse. This includes:

  • putting you in touch with a specially-trained domestic abuse officer and with support agencies
  • helping you feel safe – by taking you to a safe place like a refuge, or taking steps to make your own home secure
  • getting you medical treatment if you're injured

The police will need to gather details of the incident or incidents from you and investigate fully. They'll take a number of steps including:

  • interviewing you – you can ask for a female or male officer
  • detaining your partner/ex-partner and taking them to a police station for an interview if a crime is established
  • advising you what happens next – and what's happening with your partner/ex-partner
  • with your permission, referring you to local advocacy groups and support services like Victim Support Scotland, Scottish Women's Aid and Rape Crisis Scotland for practical and emotional support

Where there is enough evidence, the police will arrest your partner/ex-partner.

If it's likely your case will result in criminal charges, you'll also be introduced to a Victim Information and Advice (VIA) officer who will:

  • keep you updated on the progress of your case
  • give you information about the criminal justice system
  • tell you what steps have been taken to protect you
  • put you in touch with support organisations who can help you
Tell the police right away if you feel you're being harassed or intimidated because you reported domestic abuse.

Extra support at court

If you're asked to give evidence at court, you'll be entitled to use special measures like:

  • giving evidence via a live TV link
  • screens to stop you having to see someone else involved with the case
  • a supporter staying with you while you give evidence
You can also ask for information about your case at any point. You have rights to support, information and advice at all stages of the criminal justice system – from reporting the crime to going to court.

Can I drop the charges at a later date?

No. Once the details of the crime have been passed to the Procurator Fiscal, it's up to them to decide whether it is in the public interest to proceed with the case or not. You can let the Procurator Fiscal know if you have any concerns.

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Domestic abuse: support
Contacting the police