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Who is affected?

Women

While anyone can experience domestic abuse, the Police Scotland statistics of domestic abuse incidents tell us that the dynamic of female victims and male perpetrators is overwhelmingly the most common, with 82% of incidents occurring between female victims and male perpetrators. These figures have remained stable over the past 10 years. Another figure that has remained stable is that 3 women a week are murdered by their partner or ex-partner in the UK. Whilst domestic abuse with male victims is likely under reported, so also is domestic abuse with female victims under reported. Domestic abuse is therefore recognised as a form of violence against women.

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Domestic abuse is so much more than hitting and physical violence; it can be emotional, sexual and financial too. It’s a pattern of behaviour – not a one-off argument – that leaves you feeling scared, intimidated or controlled. Nobody deserves to be treated this way.

If your partner is abusive it is not your fault, and there is nothing you could do differently that would make them change their behaviour. Often abusers will tell you it is your fault that they are acting that way, or that they only behave like that because they love you. Love is never an excuse to treat someone badly, or to be abusive.

Domestic abuse can take many forms and every woman’s experience can be different.

We know that abusers tend to have very fixed ideas about what being a man and being a woman in a relationship should look like. This includes behaviours and expectations that are attributed to certain genders – for example abusers will have rigid ideas about what the role of a woman in a relationship should be; who you should socialise with; how you should dress; how you should keep the home or care for the children. This might mean pressuring you to stop working; pressuring you to stop going out; being angry when you interact with others on social media; or making unreasonable demands about how the household tasks are performed and what their expectations of you are sexually. It might also mean them controlling your finances or taking loans out in your name, when you don’t feel comfortable with this. If this resonates with your own experiences, you might find speaking to someone about this helps.

It’s important to know you are not alone and that we want to support you.

We are here 24/7, and you can reach us by phone, web chat, or email.

When you phone the helpline, you will be able to select an option to let us know the call is relating to a woman. This will ensure that the helpline team member you are connected to is a woman.

Who else can help?

Women’s Aid

If you are a woman experiencing domestic abuse and looking for ongoing support, you can also contact Women’s Aid. Local Women’s Aid groups specialise in supporting women and children affected by domestic abuse and may be able to help with emotional and practical support.


Men

Men can experience domestic abuse. In 2018-19, at least 16% of the domestic abuse incidents reported to Police Scotland involved a man being the victim.1

Domestic abuse is so much more than hitting and physical violence; it can be coercive control, emotional, sexual and financial abuse too. It’s a pattern of behaviour – not a one-off argument – that leaves you feeling scared, intimidated or controlled. Nobody deserves to be treated this way.

If your partner is abusive it is not your fault, and there is nothing you could do differently that would make them change their behaviour. They are in control of what they are doing and choose when to be abusive. Many abusers are not violent towards friends, colleagues or others and only behave this way to the people they live with which tells us they have a choice.

Often abusers will tell you it is your fault that they are acting that way, or that they only behave like that because they love you. Love is never an excuse to treat someone badly, or to be abusive. Love should never hurt in the way violence and abuse does.

The barriers men face in coming forward and talking about their experiences of domestic abuse can include:

  • Being told by an abusive partner that ‘no-one will believe you’ or ‘there is no help for men’
  • Feeling ashamed
  • Myths that domestic abuse is something that only happens to women or even that men can’t experience abuse because they are physically stronger
  • Finding it difficult to share emotions because of worry that it means you’re not masculine
  • Worry that the police won’t take you seriously or that it will be assumed that you are the abuser
  • Feeling like or being told you are less of man for not being able to take the abuse.

Help and support is available, you no longer need to suffer alone and there are services set up to help you learn about your options.

If you are a man experiencing domestic abuse, or think you might be, we are here for you. We have an understanding of men’s experiences of domestic abuse and we work in partnership with the Men’s Advice Line to provide a specialist service for you. We can talk to you about options including:

  • Getting help and ongoing support
  • Emotional support with a listening ear
  • Safety planning information
  • Finding somewhere to stay, if you would like to leave (either temporarily or long-term)
  • Reporting to the police
  • Legal options, and how to get specialist legal support
  • Taking steps at your pace through advocacy support.

We are here 24/7, and you can reach us by phone, web chat, or email.

When you phone the helpline, you will be able to select an option to let us know you are a male victim, or calling because you are concerned about a male victim, so we can put you through to the right service. All advisors are trained in working with male victims and will listen and support you.

If you are unable to get through to an advisor straight away, you have the option of waiting in the telephone queue at your convenience.  When you reach the top of the queue, you will be put through to an advisor and supported. You may also be given the option to press a key to end the call and receive a call back automatically when you reach the top of the queue. Alternatively, you can leave a voicemail and receive a call back within two hours.

Who else can help?

FearFree

FearFree offers non-judgmental, one-to-one support for men experiencing domestic abuse. They have support services in Edinburgh and the Lothians, Glasgow, and Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire

Victim Support Scotland

Victim Support Scotland provide support, practical assistance, and information to victims and witnesses of crime in Scotland. Their service is free and confidential, and they have an office in every local authority area.


Children and Young People

Domestic abuse can affect anyone, including children and young people. You might be scared about things happening at home or you might be here because you are worried about your own relationship.

What is Domestic Abuse? Info for Children and Young People

Who can help?

ChildLine

ChildLine are there online and on the phone for anyone under the age of 19. You can talk to them about anything that is bothering you. Their website has more information about domestic abuse for children and young people.

Phone: 0800 1111

Women’s Aid

There are places especially for children and young people who have these experiences, run by women near where you live. They are called Women’s Aid groups, but they don’t only support women. They offer all sorts of things for children and young people too. The women who work there understand what you’re going through and might be able to help keep you safe and feel better about what has happened. If you know your postcode, you can find out which one you’re closest to and get in touch.

I’m a young person worried about my own relationship

You may be here because you feel scared of the person you’re seeing, or used to be seeing.

They might ask you to do things you’re not comfortable with, or tell you who you should be friends with or what you should wear, and they might threaten to do things to you or to people you love if you don’t do what they say. That’s not ok, and you don’t deserve to be treated like that.

If this is happening to you, it is not your fault, and there is nothing you could do differently that would make them change the way they treat you. They might have told you that it is your fault that they are acting that way, or that they only act like that because they love you. Love is never an excuse to treat someone badly.

If you’re worried or scared, it’s important you speak to someone. You are not alone.

We are here 24/7, and you can talk to us by phone, web chat, or email.

Who else can help?

Childline

Childline are there online and on the phone for anyone under the age of 19. You can talk to them about anything that is bothering you. Their website has more information about domestic abuse for young people.

Women's Aid

Women’s Aid support women, children and young people who are affected by domestic abuse. The women who work there understand what you’re going through and might be able to help keep you safe and feel better about what has happened.

Clan Childlaw

Clan childlaw provide free legal advice and representation for children and young people in Scotland.


LGBT+ people

Domestic abuse can affect anyone, including people of all genders and sexual orientations. It can happen in same sex relationships and relationships where one or both partners are trans.

Domestic abuse is so much more than hitting and physical violence; it can be emotional, sexual and financial too. It’s a pattern of behaviour – not a one-off argument – that leaves you feeling scared, intimidated or controlled. Nobody deserves to be treated this way.

If your partner is abusive it is not your fault, and there is nothing you could do differently that would make them change their behaviour. Often abusers will tell you it is your fault that they are acting that way, or that they only behave like that because they love you. Love is never an excuse to treat someone badly, or to be abusive.

Domestic abuse within LGBT+ relationships may be experienced in very similar ways to hetero/cis relationships, with the abusive partner using different tactics to try and gain power and control.

LGBT People and Coercive Control

In LGBT+ relationships, an abusive partner might also use your sexual orientation or gender identity against you as part of the abuse. You may find it harder to ask for help or talk about your experiences with your support network, especially If you aren’t out to family or friends.

Power and Control Wheel for LGBT+ relationships showing forms of coercive control such as emotional abuse, economic abuse, intimidation, and isolation. These are encircled by the risk of physical or sexual violence. This in turn is encircled by the risk of  homophobia, biphobia, or transphobia.
Power and Control Wheel for LGBT+ relationships

It’s important to know you are not alone and that we want to support you.

We are here 24/7, and you can reach us by phone, web chat, or email.

Who else can help?

Women’s Aid

If you are a woman experiencing domestic abuse, you can contact a local Women’s Aid service. Women’s Aid specialise in supporting women and children affected by domestic abuse and may be able to help with emotional and practical support. Women’s Aid is inclusive of trans women and women of all sexual orientations, including women in same-sex relationships. They are there to support you.

FearFree

FearFree offers non-judgmental, one-to-one support for any LGBT+ person experiencing domestic abuse. They have support services in Edinburgh and the Lothians, Glasgow, and Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.

Galop National Helpline for LGBT+

Galop National Helpline is UK-wide helpline for LGBT+ people experiencing domestic abuse.

LGBT Scotland Helpline

The LGBT Scotland Helpline provides information and emotional support to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families, friends, and supporters across Scotland, and support those questioning or wanting to discuss their sexuality or gender identity.

LGBT Youth Scotland

LGBT Youth Scotland offer digital support for LGBT young people. You can talk to them about whatever may be worrying you, from questioning your sexual identity, coming out and relationship issues to bullying and sexual health.


Disabled people

Domestic abuse can affect anyone, including people of all different abilities.

Domestic abuse is so much more than hitting and physical violence; it can be emotional, sexual and financial too. It’s a pattern of behaviour – not a one-off argument – that leaves you feeling scared, intimidated or controlled. Nobody deserves to be treated this way.

If your partner is abusive it is not your fault, and there is nothing you could do differently that would make them change their behaviour. Often abusers will tell you it is your fault that they are acting that way, or that they only behave like that because they love you. Love is never an excuse to treat someone badly, or to be abusive.

Because domestic abuse is about power, abusers can use lots of different ways to get control. Disabled people have many of the same experiences as non-disabled people.

Anyone can experience domestic abuse, and experiencing domestic abuse as a disabled person can sometimes have specific challenges.

Your partner may use your disability against you. Some specific issues disabled people may experience can include:

  • Not letting you have important care or medication
  • Taking away equipment or aids to limit your independence
  • Making you feel guilty by telling you it is hard work to care for you
  • Claiming your disability benefits but not letting you have the money or letting you spend it in the way you would like
  • Telling you that you aren’t capable of looking after your children because of your disability and threatening to contact social work
  • Finding it difficult to ask for help because there are additional barriers to accessing services and support.

It’s important to know you are not alone and that we want to support you.

We are here 24/7, and you can reach us by phone, web chat, or email.

If you have a hearing or speech difficulty, you can call us using a text relay service Relay UK and British Sign Language (BSL) users can contact us through Contact Scotland BSL

If you need information on this website in a different format please contact us we’ll consider your request and get back to you within 5 days.

Who else can help?

Disability Information Scotland

Disability Information Scotland provide a range of general disability related information to disabled people. The helpline can deal with issues including benefit enquiries, employment, discrimination cases, equipment, grants and trusts, access, holiday information, and signposting to local sources of help and advice.


People with an unsettled asylum or immigration position

Domestic abuse can happen to anyone no matter what their nationality, ethnic background or immigration status is.

Domestic abuse is so much more than hitting and physical violence; it can be emotional, sexual and financial too. It’s a pattern of behaviour – not a one-off argument – that leaves you feeling scared, intimidated or controlled. Nobody deserves to be treated this way.

If your partner is abusive it is not your fault, and there is nothing you could do differently that would make them change their behaviour. Often abusers will tell you it is your fault that they are acting that way, or that they only behave like that because they love you. Love is never an excuse to treat someone badly, or to be abusive.

Because domestic abuse is about power, abusers can use lots of different ways to get control. People who have moved to another country experience many of the same forms of domestic abuse as people who were born there.

However, if you have an unsettled asylum/immigration position there may be some differences in how abusive partners try to get control and you may face specific challenges. Some examples include:

  • Your partner may threaten to have you deported if you don’t do what they want
  • They may hide your legal documents
  • Being stopped from learning English or communicating with family and friends at home
  • Telling you ‘no one will help you’ because you have no rights in this country such as telling you that you can’t call the police because you are in the country illegally
  • You may also worry about being able to leave or get support if you have no recourse to public funds.

It’s important to know you are not alone and that we want to support you.

If you have a preferred language other than English, we can speak to you over the phone through a confidential interpreter. Or, if you want to get in touch by web chat or email we will use Google Translate and reply in English unless we have a worker available who can fluently speak your language. We will check to make sure we understand each other as we go.

We are here 24/7, and you can reach us by phone, web chat, or email.

Who else can help?

Women’s Aid

If you are a woman, Women’s Aid groups are there for you and they support women of all backgrounds. They specialise in supporting women and children affected by domestic abuse and may be able to help with emotional and practical support.

There are two Women’s Aid groups with a particular specialism in supporting women from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Hemat Gryffe Women’s Aid

Hemat Gryffe Women’s Aid are based in Glasgow and provide culturally sensitive support to women, children and young people primarily from Asian Black and Minority Ethnic communities who have experienced domestic abuse in any form.

Shakti Women’s Aid

Shakti Women’s Aid are based in Edinburgh, with outreach in some other areas. They provide help for black minority ethnic (BME) women, children and young people who are experiencing, or who have experienced, domestic abuse.

AMINA Muslim Women’s Resource Centre

AMINA Muslim Women's Resource Centre is a free and confidential listening and signposting service for Muslim women in Scotland. They offer services in English, Arabic, Punjabi, and Urdu.

Ethnic Minorities Law Centre

The Ethnic Minorities Law Centre provides legal advice and representation to people from Scotland’s black and minority ethnic communities. They specialise in legal issues such as immigration, asylum, human rights, and discrimination. They have offices in Glasgow and Edinburgh and projects in 11 local authority areas across Scotland.

Scottish Women’s Rights Centre

If you are a woman, the Scottish Women’s Rights Centre may be able to help with free legal information and support, including for those with no recourse to public funds.