Domestic Abuse

,

What is Violence Against Women?

Violence against women is a direct consequence of the inequalities between women and men. It denies women their most basic human rights, such as the right to health, and undermines the social and economic development of communities and whole countries.

Various studies from around the world show that violence against women and children is widespread and cuts across class, age, religion and ethnic group. Common attempts to justify or excuse away gender-based violence include unemployment, personality disorders and the use of drugs and/or alcohol. However, it has long been established that there can be no justification for any form of violence against women and children and that whilst certain circumstances may exacerbate abuse and violence they are not causal factors. Without doubt, the majority of men do not enter into any form of violence against women and children, yet the minority have the capacity to harm many. It is acknowledged that men also experience violence but it must be recognised that women’s lower social status puts them at particular risk and the number of cases of violence against women continues to grow at an alarming rate.

Too many women and girls face intimidation and physical and sexual abuse – often from those who should care and respect them most.

We need to change attitudes and behaviour. We need to change laws and ensure they are implemented.

Perpetrators should be punished.

The shame of violence should lie with the abuser, not the victim.

UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Noon

www.fco.gov.uk/forcedmarriage

“Human Trafficking” has been used as an umbrella term for activities involved when one person obtains or holds another person in compelled service often by force and threats. It is the fastest growing form of international crime, and is now the second largest illegal trade in the world, overtaking drugs in terms of profits.

77%

Women are involved in 77% of trafficking cases worldwide, with sexual exploitation a factor in 87%, forced labour, organ harvesting, and newborns are also factors behind trafficking. Physical violence, sexual abuse, psychological torture, physical restraint in the form of locks and guards, drugging, and instilling fear through threats are just some of the ways traffickers control their victims. There are an estimated 27 million people trapped by traffickers at this moment, 13 million of those are children.

The UN describes trafficking as a form of “slavery”, with known victims from 127 countries and of their exploitation in 137. Major destinations for victims include wealthy countries in Western Europe including the UK, North America, and the Middle East. Despite what many of us would like to believe, human trafficking is not only an issue in large cities, but is on our very doorstep.

There is no fixed or legal definition for “Commercial Sexual Exploitation”, it has been described as

A practice by which a person achieves sexual gratification, financial gain or advancement through the abuse or exploitation of a person’s sexuality by abrogating that person’s human right to dignity, equality, autonomy, and physical and mental well-being…

(D.M Hughes 1999)

It is our view that commercial sexual exploitation includes, but is not limited to:

  • Stripping
  • Pole/ Lap dancing
  • Prostitution
  • Sex Chat lines
  • Escort Agencies
  • Sex Internet Forums
  • Pornography
  • Brothels

Commercial sexual exploitation (CSE) commodifies women and girls and supports a culture that views women as objects who are more a ‘sum of body parts’ than a whole being, and eroticises men’s violence and their perceived ‘right to buy’ whatever acts they have sexualised. The prevalence and acceptability of VAW is inextricably linked with commercial sexual exploitation and equality will never be an integral feature of society while predominantly one gender continues to be exploited for sexual gratification.

CSE is indisputably linked with the growing rate of human trafficking in the UK as a destination country for those who have been trafficked, as the male demand necessitates a growing supply of girls and women in prostitution. Men are also exploited by CSE, however this mostly takes place in the form of financial exploitation whereby men have a choice to engage.

Honour Based Violence is a crime or incident which takes place in order to protect or restore a family’s “honour”. It is often carried out by close family members who believe an individual’s actions have brought “shame” on the family or extended family. Behaviours which may incite honour based violence may include: sexuality, the adoption of Westernised behaviours deemed inappropriate by the family, a partner who is deemed unsuitable by culture or religion, or refusal of a forced marriage.

Forced marriage is different from arranged marriages, where parents take a lead role but the final decision to marry lies with the two people involved. This free will is absent in forced marriages which occur against the wishes of one or both of the individuals involved, often through deception and/or force.

Home Office statistics suggest that there are 12 honour killing murders in the UK each year, however literature suggests, the true figure is much higher. Young women are most at risk of honour crimes, however numbers of boys and young men reporting such incidents are on the increase. There are laws in place to protect people affected by forced marriage in Scotland. For information or support please contact The Forced Marriage Unit on 020 7008 0151 or access http://www.forcedmarriage.net/ineedhelp.html

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is an umbrella term for procedures that intentionally alter or injure female genital organs for non-medical reasons. The procedure has no health benefits for girls and women. FGM is mostly carried out on young girls between infancy and the age 15, with ages for the procedure varying between cultures. Approximately 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the often extreme consequences of FGM. The practice is most common in the western, eastern, and north-eastern regions of Africa, in some countries in Asia and the Middle East, and among migrants from these areas.

The causes of FGM include a mix of cultural, religious and social factors within families and communities. Social convention often dictates that FGM is a necessary part of raising daughters “properly”, preparing them for marriage and adulthood. Yet the complications from such procedures are often dangerous, including bacterial infections, recurrent bladder and urinary tract infections, cysts, menstruation difficulties, infertility, increased risk of childbirth and new born deaths.

The Home Office estimate that up to 24,000 girls under the age of 15 are at serious risk of female genital mutilation in the UK. The school summer holidays present a time where British born girls are at particular risk, as families may take their daughters abroad to undergo the procedure. Many girls may not be aware they are at risk. If you are worried about someone who is at risk of FGM or has had FGM, you can share this information with social care or the police.

What is Domestic Abuse?

Domestic abuse (as gender based abuse), can be perpetrated by partners or ex-partners and can include physical abuse (assault and physical attack involving a range of behaviour), sexual abuse (acts which degrade and humiliate women and are perpetrated against their will, including rape), and mental and emotional abuse (such as threats, verbal abuse, racial abuse, withholding money and other types of controlling behaviour such as isolation from family and friends).

National Strategy to Address Domestic Abuse in Scotland

Domestic abuse is the physical, mental and/or sexual abuse of a woman by someone with whom she is or has been in a relationship. Domestic abuse also affects children and there are links between domestic abuse and all forms of child abuse.

Physical abuse can include slapping, punching, strangling, using weapons, scalding, burning.

Emotional abuse can include humiliation and degradation, keeping the woman from contact with her family and friends, threats against the woman or her children, name-calling.

Sexual abuse can include being forced to take part in sexual acts against her will, being sexually assaulted with objects, being raped.

Any woman can experience Domestic Abuse.

There is no such thing as a “typical”abused woman. Women’s Aid groups support women of all age ranges, from young teenage women to women in their 80’s. Women who experience Domestic Abuse come from all different kinds of backgrounds and sections of society. Research shows that 1 in 4 women experience abuse at some time in their lives. In Scotland, in 2000-2001, Women’s Aid groups received almost 60,000 requests for help.

1 in 4

Every year, women tell us of the abusive acts that they experience:

  • being kicked or hit with fists or objects
  • being threatened
  • being humiliated
  • being forced to have sex
  • having their children threatened or abused
  • being falsely blamed for causing the abuse
  • having their possessions deliberately destroyed or damaged
  • being deliberately kept short of money
  • having mind games played upon them
  • being accused of being unfaithful
  • having their beliefs ridiculed
  • being isolated from their family and friends
  • having further control and harassment through contact arrangements with children
  • having their passport withheld and being threatened with deportation

Women explain how their experience of abuse makes them feel:

  • frightened and vulnerable
  • humiliated and degraded
  • confused and unable to think clearly or make decisions
  • isolated, lonely and trapped
  • angry and resentful

You are entitled to a life free from abuse. No-one deserves to be abused, so it is not your fault in any way, no matter what excuses or reasons your partner may use to shift the blame for his actions on to you or someone else.

Who Can You Speak To?

South Ayrshire Women’s Aid
28 Sandgate, Ayr KA7 1BW
Tel: 01292 266482 

Hours: Mon-Fri 9.00am – 4.30pm
Out of hours and public holidays answering machine only.

National Domestic Abuse Helpline
Tel: 0800 027 1234 (This telephone number will not appear in an itemised phone bill)
Hours: 24hrs a day, 7 days a week

Police Scotland Domestic Abuse Unit
c/o Ayr Police Office
10 St Marnock Street, Kilmarnock Tel: 01563 505131
Hours: Mon – Fri 8.00am – 4.00pm

Victim Support
MacAdam House
34 Charlotte Street, Ayr, KA7 1EA
Tel: 01292 266441
Hours: Mon – Fri 9.00am – 5.00pm

victimsupport.southayrshire@victimsupportsco.org.uk

A collection of links to useful sites

Scottish Women’s Aid
Scottish Women’s Aid is the lead organisation in Scotland working towards the prevention of domestic abuse. We play a vital role campaigning and lobbying for effective responses to domestic abuse.
South Ayrshire Council Violence Against Women
End Violence Against Women and Children. South Ayrshire Multi Agency Partnership
Scottish Government

 

Zero Tolerance
Zero Tolerance is a charity working to tackle the causes of men’s violence against women.
Together We Can Stop It
Scottish Women’s Aid campaign to end domestic abuse
Police Scotland
Advice page from Police Scotland on tackling Domestic Abuse
Rape Crisis Scotland
Working to end sexual violence
SAY Women
SAY Women is a voluntary organisation which offers safe, supported accommodation and related services for young women, aged 16-25 years, who are survivors of childhood sexual abuse, rape or sexual assault and who are homeless or threatened with homelessness

 

Domestic Abuse Helpline (www.nationaldomesticviolencehelpline.org.uk)

The Freephone 24 Hour National Domestic Violence helpline, run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge, is a national service for women experiencing domestic abuse. 0808 2000 247

MovingOn Ayrshire (www.movingonayrshire.com)

We provide a free confidential counselling service for survivors of sexual abuse and rape in South Ayrshire.

 

Refuge – Official Site (www.refuge.org.uk)

Freephone 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge 0808 2000 247

Childline (NSPCC) – Help line for children and young people

The Hideout – For young survivors of domestic violence

Men’s Advice Line – For male victims of domestic and sexual violence

Broken Rainbow – For Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) victims of domestic and sexual violence.

Myths and Realities

Myth

“She must deserve it or provoke it.”

Reality

There is no justification for using violence, unless your life is in danger. No-one deserves to be abused, and there is always an alternative, no matter how angry you are.

Myth

“She must enjoy it, otherwise she’d leave.”

Reality

Women stay with abusive men for many reasons, but not because they enjoy being abused. They may not know they are entitled to permanent re-housing if they leave home because of violence, and think they would be homeless. They may not know they are entitled to Income Support for themselves and their children, and think they would be penniless. They may fear they would lose their children if they “desert” their partners. They may not know Women’s Aid can provide safe, secret refuge, and fear that they would be found wherever they tried to go. They may feel that it is unfair to take the children away from their father. They may feel the abuse is their fault. Or they may have been told by their partner that he will find and kill them if they try to leave. None of these have anything to do with enjoying being abused.

Myth

“It’s just the odd domestic tiff. Everybody has arguments.”

Reality

The difference between the occasional argument, which all couples have, and domestic violence is that the latter is quite deliberate behaviour which is used by men to exert power and control over their women partners. A range of different types of controlling behaviours are used, from depriving her of money or sleep, criticising her appearance, telling her who she can be friendly with, locking her in the house, hitting her ‘sometimes with weapons – raping her, threatening to kill her and her children.

Myth

“It’s all caused by drink.”

Reality

Some men only abuse their partners when they have been drinking, but some only do it when they are sober, and some do it drunk or sober. Drink can provide an easy excuse, but is more of a trigger than a root cause of violence.

Myth

“It only happens in problem families.”

Reality

Men from all walks of life, all ethnic backgrounds and all ages abuse their women partners. There is no typical abuser, and no typical abused woman. Women’s Aid has supported women whose partners were for example doctors, social workers, ministers, solicitors, psychiatrists or teachers.

Myth

“These men must be mentally ill.”

Reality

For a lot of people, it is easier to believe that an abusive man is mentally ill than it is to accept that he knows exactly what he is doing when he assaults, rapes or tortures his partner. Most men who abuse their partners are only violent to them, never to anyone else. Most men who abuse are able to function normally in society, in the workplace, in all their other contacts with people.

Myth

“Men who abuse were abused themselves as children.”

Reality

There is no evidence that there is a ‘cycle of violence’, whereby children who were abused, or who witnessed abuse, go on to become abusers themselves. Many men who abuse come from families with no history of violence. Many have brothers who are not abusive. Children who witness abuse do not automatically grow up to be violent towards their partners; many completely reject the use of abusive behaviour as a result of their experiences.

Myth

“It was one-off. He’s really sorry, and it won’t happen again.”

Reality

Once a man has started to abuse his partner, it is likely to happen again. It is rarely an isolated incident; usually it is part of a pattern of controlling behaviour, which may not have been recognised as such eg telling her what to wear, who to see, being very possessive and jealous. Men often say they are sorry afterwards, make promises and say they’ll never do it again. Often women who have left return to violent partners because of these promises, and there may be a ‘honeymoon’ period when he appears to be the perfect partner. However, most abusers will abuse again, maybe in a different form, and women should be wary of their promises.

Myth

“Women should stay for the sake of their children. Children need a father.”

Reality

Children who experience domestic violence suffer emotionally and some may also be physically or sexually abused. Many women leave when they see the effects on their children of their partner’s abuse. Children’s emotional and physical health tends to improve when they come into refuges. Children need love and security, which they can get from their mother, more than they need a ‘father figure’, especially one whom they know to be abusive to their mother. Some children of abused women do, however, have a good relationship with their father, and want to continue to see him. Access visits can be arranged to allow this to happen. Women and children have a right to a life free from violence for the sake of both the women and the children.

Things to Consider

If you are experiencing Domestic Abuse there are things that you might want to consider doing…

If you have been assaulted, raped or sexually assaulted, you can call the police. Assault is a criminal offence; rape and sexual assault is still a crime, even if you are married to or living with the man committing the offence.

You could speak to a friend you trust, or to a service provider such as your GP, Health Visitor or Practice Nurse. You may need medical attention for injuries you have. It is important that health workers know how your injuries happened and it can prove helpful if you ask them to note this in your records.

Surviving Abuse

Living with an abusive partner is never easy or straightforward and you will recognise some of the coping strategies that you have developed to help you survive the abuse. You may not realise it but your strength and your courage will be considerable

Remember – the violence is not your fault – no matter what your partner may have said.
Abusers choose to abuse – the responsibility and blame belong to him.

Safety Planning

If you think you might need to escape from the abuse in a hurry, work out now what you would need and where you would go.

  • If you can, tell a trusted person what your plan is.
  • Try to have some money hidden away for taxis, bus or train fares, and phone calls.
  • Try to have your Child Benefit book, rent book, mortgage papers, marriage, birth certificates and passport handy to take with you. Don’t worry if you cannot manage this as you can obtain copies once you have left.
  • Try to have a change of clothes for you and any children at a friend’s house.
  • Try to have some photos or toys at a friend’s too as these can help you and your children cope with change.
  • If possible have a set of keys to your home.
  • Have a list of emergency phone numbers – but keep them discretely.

If you have left the relationship:

  • Let others know about your situation, eg school, work and the police.
  • Review safety of childcare arrangements and inform school or nursery.
  • Vary your routine.
  • Change your phone number.
  • Screen your phonecalls
  • Get a solicitor who is experienced in working with women fleeing from domestic abuse. Women’s Aid or the Citizens Advice Bureau may have information about local contacts.
  • Document any contacts with your abuser, eg save answering machine messages or letters; make a note of dates and times of any incidents.
  • Make sure there are strong locks on doors and windows (change locks if the abuser has a key). You may be able to get help with this from the Additional Security Project.
  • If you have an interdict, consider asking neighbours to phone the police if they see your abuser.

At your place of work discuss with your line manager:

  • Having your phone calls screened.
  • Reviewing your work schedule, changing work hours.
  • Moving to another part of the building/organisation.
  • Parking closer to the building for easier entry and exit. Having an escort to and from the car.
  • Opportunities for relocation.
  • Use a variety of routes to get to and from work.
  • Provide an emergency contact person.

 

Housing

Is it possible for me to keep the house and to make him leave – even though it’s in joint names?

Yes, you can apply to the court for an exclusion order – this may be granted if the court believes that you are at risk. A variety of different things can show this, it does not have to be police reports, although they do help in your favour. The court can also attach a power of arrest to this order, so if he tries to come into your home then the police can automatically arrest him. This applies to both married and un-married couples living together.

Is it possible for me to remain living in the house and to make him leave – even though it’s not in my name?

Yes, although this is a more complicated process. If you are married to a person you have an automatic right to live in your home, even if it is in his name. If it is privately owned or leased you can apply to transfer either the title for the house or the tenancy agreement into your name. The court will closely examine the need of both parties. They will look to see if either of you have alternative accommodation, they will examine the need of children (if there are any). If you are not married you do have many of these rights – speak to your lawyer for more information.

What if I have to leave home in a hurry?

If you contact Women’s Aid, they can organise a police escort to go back to your home to receive your essentials. Someone from Women’s Aid will go with you as well.

What is The Willows in South Ayrshire like?

The Willows is shared accommodation with 8 places for women and their children (with each family having their own bathroom). There are also stand alone properties, which are fully furnished. Staff routinely visit these houses/flats in order to provide support.

The Willows is a safe house where you can stay with your children. They are not like hostels or institutions and you can have your own say about what goes on. Women’s Aid is registered with the Care Inspectorate to provide a housing support system to women residing in all our accommodation. Additionally, there is a support service for all children and young people residing there with their mothers. All staff are specially trained in working with women and children who have experienced domestic abuse.

What can South Ayrshire Women’s Aid accommodation service offer?

  • Where appropriate/available, space for women fleeing Domestic Abuse, for women with or without dependant children.
  • Practical and emotional support and stand alone accommodation.
  • Information about legal, housing, financial and benefit rights and entitlements.

You can:

  • Stay in the accommodation as long as you need to.
  • Take the time to decide what you want to do.
  • Get support to help you achieve whatever option you’ve chosen.
  • Return home knowing that you will be entitled to space in the future.
  • Move into the accommodation knowing that you have not planned to leave your partner permanently – respite visits are common.
  • Be safe – addresses are confidential, and there is accommodation all over Britain which you can move to if you can’t stay in your own area.
  • Get support from other women who have experienced abuse and who are living in the accommodation.
  • Get support for your children too.

What can Women’s Aid service offer children & young people (CYP)?

  • Support to help CYP make sense of their experiences.
  • Support to validate experiences and work on issues of self esteem and confidence.
  • Support to address issues such as equality, respect and misuse of power.
  • Help in developing “keeping safe’strategies for the future.
  • Peer group work where appropriate.
  • Play and recreational opportunities.
  • Practical support with nursery, school, college enrolment, travel passes, etc.
  • Rights information.

How long can I stay in The Willows?

This is temporary accommodation but this can mean anything from a few days to a few months depending on what you feel you need. Some women may only want to stay for a few days to get a breathing space while other women may want to stay until they obtain somewhere safe to live permanently. You can decide whether you want to stay for a short time or until you sort out your housing.

If you decide to return to your partner from the refuge you will be supported in your decision – you can always contact Women’s Aid again in the future if you want or need to. If you want to obtain permanent re-housing or to exclude your partner from the family home, we can give you the information and support you may need.

 

The Law

How will having a lawyer help me?

A helpful lawyer is a great asset. She/he will be able to explain in more detail the legal rights outlined on this page and describe the court procedures that may be necessary to enforce your rights. If you don’t already know a lawyer, Women’s Aid will be able to recommend one for you, or see the list below.

She/he will be able to act on your behalf in applying for housing, or in getting the police to take action against your partner. Don’t be afraid of going to a lawyer. She/he is there to help you and to take your instructions about how you want matters dealt with. Listening to your lawyer’s professional opinion will advise you on your chances of success in any particular course of action. But remember that your lawyer is working for you alone, not for you and your partner as a couple. If you are unhappy with your lawyer, you are entitled to change, even if you have legal aid and/or an action underway. It is better to change sooner rather than later.

How can I afford a lawyer?

Do not be put off consulting a lawyer because you are worried about the cost. You may be entitled to financial help towards your legal costs. This help is called Legal Aid, and Legal Advice and Assistance. Your lawyer will help you with filling in the forms. Some lawyers give a first interview free of charge or charge a small fixed fee – you can find out which ones from your local Citizens’ Advice Bureau.

Every lawyer has a “key card” which allows them to work out there and then whether you qualify for free legal advice and assistance, or qualify but have to pay a contribution. If you are on benefits of any description, eg. income support, incapacity benefit etc, you will automatically qualify for free legal advice and assistance. Otherwise your eligibility will depend on your income and capital and the number and ages of your children. If you seek advice because of problems with your husband/partner, his income is disregarded.

If you are getting income support, income-based jobseeker’s allowance, income-related employment and support allowance or universal credit you will be eligible for free legal advice and assistance, unless you have savings over the limit.

What if I have to appear in court?

Many women worry about taking any kind of legal action because they are afraid of appearing in court. Going to court is likely to be less formal and less frightening than you expect. Ask your lawyer to describe and explain the procedures beforehand. If you can, go to court to hear another case before yours comes up.

If your partner/ex-partner is charged with a criminal offence (eg assaulting you) and he pleads “not guilty”, then you will be called as a witness and will be expected to give evidence in court.

What if I have to appear in court?

Many women worry about taking any kind of legal action because they are afraid of appearing in court. Going to court is likely to be less formal and less frightening than you expect. Ask your lawyer to describe and explain the procedures beforehand. If you can, go to court to hear another case before yours comes up.

If your partner/ex-partner is charged with a criminal offence (eg assaulting you) and he pleads “not guilty”, then you will be called as a witness and will be expected to give evidence in court.

Special Measures

Prior to any court appearance you can apply for Special Measures. These Special Measure can be a side door to enter and leave the court which will ensure that the accused or any of his family or friends cannot make contact with you. A separate waiting room gives you the confidentiality and a quiet place to be in prior to your appearance at court. There are other safety measures that can also be put in place, a supporter who will be with you in the court room during your appearance. Applications can also be made for a screen and if necessary video link, these have to be applied for as soon as possible as there are permissions and arrangement for these to take place. Video Link is particularly beneficial if you have any children who are summoned to appear as witnesses or if you have any anxieties that otherwise may prevent you from attending at court on the day you are summoned to appear.  Your support worker from South Ayrshire Women’s Aid can also support you on the day of the hearing if you have no other family or friends to accompany you to the court.

How can I apply for compensation?

If you have been injured as a result of a crime of violence, you can apply for payment of compensation. You have to apply within one year of the date you were injured and your injuries have to be considered to be serious enough.

Other conditions also apply. You must have reported the incident to the police without delay and your partner/ex-partner must have been prosecuted (unless there are good reasons why this cannot be done). You cannot apply if you are still living with the man who injured you. To apply for compensation, you should write to: Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, Tay House, 300 Bath Street, Glasgow, G2 4JR. They will send you a form to fill in and then, after making their own enquiries, they will notify you of their decision. If you are not satisfied with the decision, you can ask for a hearing.

Can I stop my abusive partner/ex-partner harassing me and make him leave me alone?

Yes, in addition to any steps taken through the criminal court, you may also be able to apply for protective orders through the civil court.  These applications have to be made by you, although it is possible to withhold your address.  Your solicitor may advise you to apply for more than one at the same time.

An interim interdict against abuse can be applied for very quickly.  The interdict has to set out the acts of abuse – threatened or actual – from which protection is sought.  Although some corroboration of the abuse is necessary the court is flexible about the nature of that corroboration.  Firsthand witnesses are ideal but failing these, close family or friends who have witnessed you with injuries or in a state of distress shortly after an incident can also provide evidence.  Medical reports and police reports are extremely helpful.  An interim interdict, if not made final, will last for up to twelve months.  It can be recalled by an earlier order of the court.  The interdict will commonly cover abuse such as physical assault, verbal abuse, causing distress by following, phoning or texting, attendance at a place of work or a home or a child’s school. The terms of an interim interdict are flexible and can be adapted to suit particular circumstances, for example, stating that your partner cannot come within a certain distance of you or your home.

An application for interdict can also include an application for a power of arrest to be attached to the interim interdict.  It takes slightly longer for this to be considered and your partner has to have notice of the hearing which is fixed to consider the application. The court has to be satisfied that the power of arrest is necessary and it is normal practice to produce evidence such as affidavits from witnesses, a medical report, a police report or an extract conviction.  Once a power of arrest is granted by the court it has to be intimated to the perpetrator.  The police then have a record of it on their system and if you contact the police and advise that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the interdict is being breached the police have the power to proceed with an arrest.  After that the proceedings are dealt with by the procurator fiscal in a similar way to a criminal prosecution.  A power of arrest is now granted for a specified period up to a maximum of three years.

A protection from harassment order can be obtained if a fairly consistent pattern of abuse has been suffered.  The court requires to be satisfied to a high standard that there has been behaviour which is intended to harass you, that it has happened on at least two occasions and that there is an intention to persist in this behaviour.  This is a rather more difficult order to obtain than an interdict or power of arrest but it is a criminal offence to breach a non-harassment order and therefore it provides effective protection.

Can I get my abusive partner/ex-partner out of my home?

Yes you can, depending on the circumstances.

An exclusion order can be granted to prevent your partner staying in or entering the family home.  The court has to be satisfied that the exclusion order is necessary to protect you or your child/ren from physical or mental harm.  Actual physical abuse is therefore not always necessary to satisfy the requirements of an exclusion order.  However the evidence which a court requires before granting an exclusion order is the same type as for a power of arrest but the court will normally require fairly strong evidence before an exclusion order will be granted.   The order can be granted on either an interim or a final basis.

See the section on Housing for further information.

Can I protect my children from my abusive partner/ex-partner?

List of solicitors who advise on civil remedies:

  • Elizabeth Welsh, Family Law Practice, 26 Miller Road Ayr, KA7 2AY 01292 284786
  • Lynne Jeffery, D W Shaw, Solicitors, 34a Sandgate, Ayr 01292 265 033
  • Morven Howell, D W Shaw, Solicitors, 20 West Portland Street, Troon, 01292 312 577
  • Shona Gallagher, D W Shaw, Solicitors, Royal Bank Buildings, Glaisnock Street, Cumnock, 01290 421 484
  • Mr T E Shaw, Mrs L McMath, Ms M S Walker – A C White, 23 Wellington Square, Ayr 01292 266 900
  • Robert Campbell – R B Campbell & Co, 7 Wellington Square, Ayr, KA7 1EN, 01292 261 125
  • Lauren Fowler– Frazer Coogans, Dalblair House, Dalblair Road, Ayr 02192 280499

What Others Say

They make you realise that it’s not your fault, and that step by step you can build your life and your children’s lives back together again.

They were fantastic. They listened to me and didn’t judge me. They gave me a lot of information.

I was given a little hope that things might not be as bleak as I thought.

There were a lot of things I didn’t know so I got lots of verbal information and leaflets.

Thank you so much for listening to me, and recognising the nightmare that’s been part of my life and the children’s lives for too long.

Since I first came to you and you got me a place in the refuge many years ago my life has been so different. You helped me find a way out of my miserable existence. Life is so much better now and I can never thank you enough for all you did for me.

What We Know

In the UK a woman is murdered every 3 days by a partner or ex-partner.

(Home Office Crime Stats, 2001)

It is estimated that only 2% of violent attacks on women are reported to the police.

(The Hidden Figure Middlesex University,1994)

On average a woman will be assaulted 35 times before calling the police for help.

(Yearnshire,1997)

90% of children will be in the same or next room during attacks on their mothers.

(Hughes, 1992)

Women who experience violence have a 50% higher incidence of miscarriage & stillbirth.

(Mooney, 1993)

75% of all UK children on child protection registers are affected by domestic violence.

(Women’s National Commission, April 2004)

EXIT SITE