Where to get support
If you or someone you know needs support, there is help available:
What happens when you call the helpline?
- Firstly, you’ll be given some recorded information about the helpline.
- You will then be given two options – press 1 if you are a woman or calling on behalf of a woman or press 2 if you are a man or calling on behalf of a man.
- At busy times, you’ll have the option to leave a voicemail or hold the line.
- If you leave a voicemail, you’ll be called back within two hours or as near as possible to another time you have requested.
- All emails to the helpline will be answered as soon as possible and within a maximum of two days.
- Your call will always be answered by a helpline worker who understands the dynamics of domestic abuse and forced marriage.
- Helpline workers will listen and work to understand your concerns. They will provide you with relevant information and support.
- You will always be treated fairly and respectfully; the helpline provides a confidential, sensitive service.
- If English is not your first language, we can speak to you through a confidential translation service.
For safety, we need express permission from an individual in order for us to call them; we do not accept requests to call a third party. If you are concerned about a friend, family member etc. you can pass on our details so the individual can make contact with us themselves. You are also welcome to call us yourself to discuss your concerns.
Call 999 in case of an emergency
Call 101 for non-emergency police contact
You can call the police 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
What happens when you speak to the police?
The police will help and protect you when you report domestic abuse.
- put you in touch with a specially-trained domestic abuse officer and support agencies
- help you feel safe – taking you to a refuge, or making your own home secure
- get you medical treatment if you’re injured
The police will need to gather the details of your story and investigate fully.
- interview you – you can ask for a female or male officer
- detain your partner/ex-partner, interviewing them if a crime is established
- advise you on your next steps – and what’s happening with your partner/ex-partner
- with your permission, refer you to local aid services for practical and emotional support
With enough evidence, the police will arrest your partner/ex-partner.
If it’s likely your case will result in criminal charges, you’ll 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 immediately if you feel you’re being harassed or intimidated for having reported domestic abuse.
Support in court
If you’re asked to give court evidence, you’ll be entitled to special measures like:
- giving evidence via a live TV link
- screens which stop you having to see someone else involved in the case
- a supporter staying with you while you give evidence
You can 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 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 to proceed with the case. You can let the Procurator Fiscal know if you have any concerns.
You can also call these specialist numbers:
0800 5999 247
Support for victims of domestic abuse, forced marriage and honour based abuse
Download this leaflet with sources of help:
How can I help somebody else?
If someone has confided in you that they’re experiencing domestic abuse, or you suspect that someone might be suffering, it’s important not to ignore it.
Here are some ways you can help:
- Call Scotland’s Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0800 027 1234.
- Listen without blaming. There are many women and men in the same situation.
- It takes trust to share experience of abuse. Don’t push them for details if they’re not ready.
- Acknowledge they are in a frightening and difficult situation.
- Tell them no one deserves to be threatened or beaten, despite what their abuser has said.
- Encourage them to express their feelings.
- Allow them to make their own decisions – don’t tell them to leave the relationship if they’re not ready.
- If they have suffered physical harm, accompany them to get medical assistance.
- Help them report any assaults to the police, if they so choose.
- Be ready to share the support contacts above.
- If they don’t already know, tell them the law has changed to include coercive and controlling behaviour.
Helping someone leave an abusive relationship:
- Let them create their own boundaries of what is safe and unsafe.
- Offer them the use of your home and/or phone number to leave info and messages.
- Offer to look after an emergency bag, if they want this.
- Do not put yourself in a dangerous situation e.g. offering to talk to the abuser.
Are you hurting the one you love? – how to get help
Have you been violent or abusive? Do you think you have a problem controlling your anger with your partner? If you are an abuser or have abused in the past and recognise that in order to change your behaviour you need help there are services available.