Your Rights and Legal Protection


Everyone has the right to live without fear or threat. If a partner or ex-partner is abusing or harrassing you and/or your children you can use the law to protect yourselves.

You do not have to put up with domestic abuse.

There are things that you can do. Knowing some of the facts will help to keep you safe. The law can be quite complicated , so it is always best to speak to an adviser. You can contact a solicitor, local Women's Aid group, Citizens Advice Bureau, housing offices or law centres.(see Useful Contacts)

It is a good idea to keep a note of who you have been speaking to, their names, phone number and/or email address. Also make a note of what they have said to you. It can be hard to remember everything, especially if you are anxious or stressed

The legal system can be quite complex so you should speak to Glasgow Women's Aid or your local Citizen's Advice Bureau. We can tell you how to find a solicitor who is experienced in Family Law and can give you information about what to expect.

 It is important to remember that:-

  • Any person who is being assaulted is entitled to police assistance.
  • Assaults which occur between partners in the home are not in any way less serious than those that occur between strangers.
  • Assault within the context of domestic abuse is a crime; it should be dealt with in the same way as any crime.
  • The police have guidelines on how to they should respond to being called to an assault on a woman by the person that she is living with.
  • The police should not ask you if you want to have your partner charged. It is for the police to decide whether to charge him or not. 
  • You have rights within the legal system which can apply to your home and your money. Always get appropriate advice.


Your Rights to Protection

  • Any woman who is being assaulted, threatened or harassed by an abuser can apply through a lawyer for a court order telling them to stop their behaviour. This is called an Interdict. An Interdict can have powers of arrest attached to it.

  • An order can be granted if you want an abuser to be told to stop assaulting you but you do not wish to have them put out of the home. It can also be granted if you are living apart from the abuser and you still need protection from them. For example, the abuser may be prohibited from assaulting and threatening you in your home or anywhere else, or coming within 50 yards of the family home.

  • If the abuser breaks the an Interdict, the response of the police will depend on whether or not a power of arrest is attached to the Interdict. 
  • If there is a power of arrest attached then the police can arest the abuser if they have reasonable suspicion that the Interdict has been broken.
  • If there is not a power of arrest then the police have no power unless the abuser has committed a separate criminal offence at the time. If no criminal offence has been committed you must go to your lawyer about taking your abuser through the civil courts for 'Breach of the Peace'.
  • Under the Matrimonial Homes (Family Protection) (Scotland) Act 1981 and the Protection from Abuse (Scotland) Act 2001, you can apply to the court for a Power of Arrest to be attached.  

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