For A Guide to Scots Law in 10 different languages please click here.
Anyone aged 16 years or over can get married. This includes both opposite sex couples and same sex couples.
It is illegal to be married to more than one person at the same time.
If you no longer wish to be married you can get a divorce under certain circumstances. These circumstances include adultery, unreasonable behaviour or where you have been living apart for a period of time.
You must be responsible and keep your child safe. A parent must not leave their child alone and unsupervised at home or anywhere else at any time. A child under the age of 16 should never be left home alone overnight.
You may be prosecuted if you hit your child or a child who is in your care. In particular, if you strike your child on the head, shake them or hit them using anything, then you would be breaking the law. Hitting your child is both physically and mentally damaging to a child and could affect them later in life.
You must send your child to school from age 5: it is the law and failure to do so is a criminal offence. If a child does not attend school on a regular basis, the parents may be prosecuted. This will depend on the level of attendance and the circumstances at home.
Domestic abuse is where one person harms another person with whom they have (or have had) some sort of relationship. They do not need to be heterosexual partners and they do not need to live in the same property. Both women and men can experience domestic abuse. This includes female violence towards men and violence between partners or ex-partners in same-sex relationships.
The range of offences which might be classified as domestic abuse is wide and can include physical, sexual, emotional or mental abuse. The police will treat all incidents of domestic abuse as high priority. They will ensure that, as far as possible, any incident reported is met with an immediate response by police officers. The initial priority for police officers attending a domestic abuse incident is the safety and wellbeing of the victim, their family and any other persons present.
Where there is enough evidence, the person responsible will be charged and may be detained in custody to appear at court.
Pregnancy & Abortion
Information on pregnancy can be found on www.readysteadybaby.org.uk or you can contact the NHS directly by phoning 111.
If you decide not to continue with your pregnancy and are considering an abortion or termination you must seek medical advice immediately
Honour Based Violence
Honour based violence is a term to describe a crime or incident, which has, or may have, been committed to protect or defend the perceived honour of the family and/or community. It is mainly, but not always, carried out against women and girls, by their family or their community.
Those who carry out ‘honour crimes’ often do so because they believe that the victim(s) have done something to bring shame to the family or the community. The police will treat every report of honour based violence seriously and will conduct a thorough investigation.
Forced marriage is a form of honour based violence and it is a criminal offence in Scotland to force or attempt to force someone into marriage
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
Female genital mutilation (sometimes referred to as ‘cutting’ or ‘female circumcision’) refers to certain procedures that can alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. The practice is extremely painful and can cause serious health issues, both when the procedure is carried out and in later life. The practice is illegal in the UK. It is also illegal to arrange for FGM to be carried out abroad.