Legal Information

WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS?

Please don’t suffer in silence. You can:

Contact Women’s Aid South Lanarkshire for practical support
• Report your abuser to the police
• Take Legal Action

Reporting your partner to the police

To report your partner for a domestic abuse incident in an emergency, call 999. The police should make your case a priority. Otherwise, phone your local police station (look in the phone book under P). All police forces in Scotland employ officers who are trained to deal with domestic abuse cases. When you phone your local police station, ask to be put through to a domestic abuse officer.

When they visit you they will:

• Check to see if you’re injured or need treatment.
• Try to gather evidence. In Scotland it must be from two sources – usually your statement plus witness information from anyone who saw or heard the incident, such as a neighbour. If you do have any injuries, they may take photos.

• The police will separately interview you and your partner (if they’re at the scene). If an older child was there at the time, the police might want to speak to them.

• They will look for any other evidence of damage, such as broken door locks, punched walls or doors.

• They will also take a note of any children who are present or will be present in the future. The police may refer the incident to the Children’s Reporter or your Health Visitor so that you they can work with you to protect your children.

What happens to your partner?

If the police have enough evidence that your partner has assaulted you, they may arrest him and keep him in custody until he appears in court – usually the next working day.

Help and support

To get help, contact us. If a case goes to court you’ll be contacted by VIA (Victim Information and Advice) who will give you all the information you need about the court process.

THE LAW AND YOU

How the law works

Remember, domestic abuse is illegal and there are laws to protect you from it. If you choose to take legal action, you’ll be asked to gather as much evidence as you can about what your partner is doing. To get legal protection, you’ll also need to apply to the court.

We can help you find a solicitor, experienced in Family Law and as the law is quite complicated, we can give you some information on what to expect. We can also, if required go with you to any legal appointments.

There are three main types of legal action:

1. Exclusion order
This order allows you to have an abusive partner removed from your home. An exclusion order applies if you have occupancy rights (that is: if you are married or the house is jointly in your name). Under an exclusion order the police can arrest your partner if he tries to enter your home.

Good to Know: If you own or rent your home in your name only, and are not married your partner has no legal rights and you have the power to exclude them (for instance by changing the locks).

2. Interdict
An interdict is a court order that bans your partner or ex-partner from assaulting or abusing you. A solicitor will apply for an interdict on your behalf. You can also get an interdict to keep your partner away from you and your children. It is beneficial to try to get an Interdict with powers of arrest, as this allows police to arrest your partner, if they are in breach of the order.

Good to know: in an emergency you can apply for an ‘interim interdict’, which your solicitor should be able to get for you within 24 to 48 hours. Within seven days there will be a court hearing to establish what happens next.

3. Non-harassment order
If your partner is following you, phoning you, or behaving in a frightening or threatening way, you can apply to the court for a non-harassment order. You need to give at least two examples of this behaviour and apply to the court through a solicitor.

Good to Know: If your partner breaks the conditions of the non-harassment order, the police can arrest them. They may face court proceedings, a fine, or imprisonment.

Help from the Police

It is your right, if you choose to report your partner/ex partner to the police. You may wish to do this if:

  • They have assaulted you, in any way.
  • They have broken a court order.
  • They have broken bail conditions from previous incidents, perhaps by approaching/contacting you.

Money

If you have to leave an abusive partner/ flee from Domestic Abuse you may be able to claim benefits to support you and your children. We can support you to apply for this and if required attend any appointments with you.

Housing

Be aware there are rights for you to stay in your home and make an abusive partner leave – this does involve legal proceedings. You have a right to temporary/permanent housing from the local authority, if you have to leave your home because of Domestic Abuse.

WASL can be contacted for advice and support for any / all of the above.
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