Information about the Police for people living in Scotland
The Police treat all incidents of domestic abuse as high priority. Their initial priority when domestic abuse is reported to them is the safety and well being of the victim, their family and any other person present. The Police will investigate all reports of domestic abuse and will rigorously pursue all lines of enquiry. The Police cannot use their discretion in regards to this therefore if you approach the Police and give your details and report any offence of domestic abuse they are obliged to follow this up and approach the alleged perpetrator and if there is evidence to charge him/her and to report to the Procurator fiscal. It is the Police that press charges not you. This may not be what you want, however if you still want to speak to the Police in confidence for advice, you can do this in two ways:
- Firstly by phoning the local Domestic Abuse Unit and speaking with a Domestic Abuse Liaison Officer and not disclosing specific details such as your name, alleged perpetrator name, address etc
- Or by contacting a domestic abuse agency to ask about their remote reporting procedures, particularly if you want to report intelligence to police about an alleged perpetrator. You can remotely report to some police forces directly and anonymously via their website.
- You do not need to tell the police about alleged incidents in order to get housing support, legal aid, to get an interdict etc.
Information about the Law for people living in Scotland
Taking out an Interdict (sometimes with a power of arrest)
What is an Interdict? How do you get one?
An Interdict is a court order that prevents your partner from carrying out certain actions and you should speak to a solicitor specialising in family law for specific advice. If your partner breaks the order, they can receive a fine or a prison sentence. The Interdict is made in a civil court by a Sheriff and only a solicitor can request this for you by preparing a legal document called an initial writ. Usually a power of arrest is attached to the Interdict, meaning the alleged perpetrator can be arrested by police officers if he/she is suspected of breaking the Interdict. If he/she breaks the interdict, he can be detained for two days by a criminal court to allow you to raise a Breach of Interdict action in the civil court.
If you have been living with your partner and you would like to exclude them from the dwelling home you can apply for an Exclusion Order; any married person, civil partner or cohabitee can do this. The Exclusion Order allows you to live in the dwelling home and will exclude your partner or ex-partner if they would normally have rights to live in the dwelling home i.e. they are joint tenants with you or you own the home together. You could apply for an Exclusion Order even if you are not the tenant or own the home; you will need advice from a solicitor who specialises in Family Law. You may want to consider asking for an Interdict with a power of arrest and an Exclusion Order; you may need to pay for this fully or partly yourself, however you should ask for Legal Aid when you approach a solicitor.
What is a Non-Harassment Order? How do you get one?
If you get a Non-Harassment Order granted against your partner (or anyone else who is harassing you), this means that they are no longer allowed to carry out the action(s) specified in the order. If they do, they will be committing a criminal offence.The behaviour you want to prevent must have taken place at least twice before you can raise an action for harassment. This may be behaviour which is not in itself unlawful or abusive, but which is making you feel distressed or afraid. For example, you may be able to take out a Non-Harassment Order to prevent your partner from phoning or texting you repeatedly, sending you letters or following you.
The burden of proof is stricter for a Non-Harassment Order as the consequences for breaking it can be up to five years in custody; your solicitor may advice you to seek an Interdict with a Power of Arrest.
Services for Gay and Bi men in Scotland
Abused Men in Scotland (AMIS)
Confidential and freephone helpline: provides support to any man in Scotland who is affected by domestic abuse. They also welcome calls from friends/family who may be concerned about a loved one. They will support any man (including transgender and non-binary people), whether in a mixed-sex or same-sex relationship.
Call 0808 800 0024 Monday-Friday 9am-4pm
LGBT Helpline Scotland
Information and emotional support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their families, friends and supporters across Scotland. Open every Tuesday and Wednesday from 12-9pm. Call : 0300 123 2523 http://www.lgbt-helpline-scotland.org.uk/
Gay Men’s Health
Gay Men’s Health is Scotland’s charity for gay men. Their work involves and empowers gay and bisexual men to promote the health and well-being of all men who have sex with men. This includes men living with or affected by HIV. They offer a counselling service based in Lothians and Greater Glasgow. They have an office in Edinburgh, 0131 558 9444 and one in Glasgow – 0141 552 0112. They have a lot of information on their website: www.gmh.org.uk