If you are a friend or family member concerned about someone you think is experiencing domestic abuse you can contact any of the organisations below for advice.
If someone is at immediate risk of harm, please call 999 immediately.
If you’re worried a friend is being abused, let them know you’ve noticed something is wrong. They might not be ready to talk but try to find quiet times when they can talk if they choose to.
If someone confides in you that they’re suffering domestic abuse:
- listen, and take care not to blame them
- acknowledge it takes strength to talk to someone about experiencing abuse
- give them time to talk, but don’t push them to talk if they don’t want to
- acknowledge they’re in a frightening and difficult situation
- tell them nobody deserves to be threatened or beaten, despite what the abuser has said
- support them as a friend – encourage them to express their feelings, and allow them to make their own decisions
- don’t tell them to leave the relationship if they’re not ready – that’s their decision
- ask if they have suffered physical harm – if so, offer to go with them to a hospital or GP
- help them report the assault to the police if they choose to
- be ready to provide information on organisations that offer help for people experiencing domestic abuse
The Disclosure Scheme for Domestic Abuse Scotland (DSDAS)
Under this scheme you can ask the police to check whether a new, former or existing partner has a violent past. This is called ‘right to ask’. If records show that you may be at risk of domestic abuse from a partner, the police will consider disclosing the information. A disclosure can be made if it is legal, proportionate and necessary to do so.
The “right to ask” also enables a third party, such as a friend or family member, to apply for a disclosure on behalf of someone they know. Again, the police can release information if it is lawful, necessary and proportionate to do so. In order to make an application under the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme.
Please contact the police. You can do this by:
- visiting a police station (the household isolation instruction as a result of COVID-19 does not apply if you need to leave your home to escape domestic abuse)
- phoning 101
- speaking to a member of the police on the street
- clicking on the link below for more information and an application form
Once you submit the form you will have formally applied to the Disclosure Scheme for Domestic Abuse Scotland. Police Scotland will process the application – including conducting checks and meeting with you, the applicant. At the end of the process a decision will be made as to whether or not a disclosure will be made.