While most of us are happy and secure in our homes and getting used to life with the corona-virus, it has proved to be particularly dangerous for women and children who face domestic abuse as social distancing and self-isolation means that they have reduced contact with supportive friends, families, communities and services. Being confined to their homes for longer than usual means it is more difficult for them to contact services and helplines as their abuser may be living with them. Even those not living with their abuser are living in fear as the abuser knows they will be at home and can continue any campaign of stalking and harassment. Domestic abuse has a horrific impact on the physical and mental well-being of women and can equally have a grave effect on the children who are witnessing it.
Scotland is continually making progress with its work in relation to domestic abuse. The new Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 includes psychological harm as an offence as well as physical harm with penalties of up to 14 years in prison for the more serious acts. It is the only UK legislation to signify the harm that is caused to children growing up in an environment where domestic abuse is taking place.There is also a new Domestic Abuse Bill currently being considered in Parliament which could give Police Scotland and the courts powers to remove abusers from victim’s homes and ban them from entering for a few weeks. This would give the authorities time to apply to the courts for a longer term protective order preventing the return of the suspected abuser for up to two months.
The Scottish Government has revised its previously launched domestic abuse campaign and together with Police Scotland has been raising awareness by running it across TV and social media. The message is clear that tackling domestic abuse remains a key priority regardless of the current restrictions on daily life and women should not worry about the lockdown enforcements. They should seek the support they need.The options available to them are the same as before.
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf has said:
“These are unsettling times for everyone but I want to be absolutely clear that anyone experiencing domestic abuse in the home is not alone. While they may feel isolated and vulnerable, help is still available round the clock. We have heard that victims may feel like they don’t want to bother the police or support services because of the crisis. The message of this campaign is absolutely clear:services are open and they are there to help you”.
Castlemilk Law & Money Advice Centre can provide advice on a number of issues to those affected by domestic abuse such as legal advice on civil interdicts, exclusion orders, children’s contact as well advice on housing and welfare rights and can also assist in making applications for criminal injuries compensation.
For further information please contact us on 0141 634 0313 and leave your name, contact number and a short message and one of our advisors will contact you. Currently,most appointments will take place over the phone; however, if a matter cannot be dealt with over the phone, you will be invited into our office for a face to face appointment. There are strict government guidelines in place at our office and must be adhered to at all times.
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger please call 999 and ask for the police.
Scotland’s 24 hour Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline is available on 0800 0271234.
The Scottish Government’s recently published guidance: