Information For Women

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1 Information For Women What is Domestic Abuse? Domestic abuse is physical, sexual, emotional or financial abuse which takes place within an intimate relationship. Domestic abuse is characterised by a pattern of coercive and controlling behaviour and incidents will increase in both severity and frequency. Domestic abuse is gender specific in that it is most commonly experienced by women and perpetrated by men. Domestic abuse may, and often does, include a range of abusive behaviours, not all of which are, in themselves, inherently violent. All forms of domestic abuse stem from the abusers desire for power and control over his partner. Any woman can experience domestic abuse regardless of race, ethnic or religious group, class, disability or lifestyle. Examples of forms of abuse are detailed below but this list is not an exhaustive list. Physical abuse includes all physical violence such as punching, slapping, biting, kicking, pushing, burning and strangling. Emotional abuse includes humiliation and degradation, isolation from friends and family, threats against the woman or her children and name calling. Sexual abuse includes rape, using force, threats or intimidation to make a woman perform sexual acts or any degrading sexual treatment. Financial abuse includes not being allowed to take a job, being denied access to money which is yours or being forced to ask for money for essentials. You are entitled to a life free from abuse. Nobody deserves to be abused, it is not your fault, no matter what excuses or reasons your partner may use to try and shift the blame for his actions on to you, or someone else.

2 Getting Help Page3: Page 5: Page 6: Page 11: Who will I speak to? I have ended my relationship but I am staying at home how can my children and I be safe? I have ended my relationship but I need to leave home what will I do and where can my children and I go? Where can I get legal advice? Page 13: How can I stop my abusive partner/ex-partner harassing my children and I? Page 14: How can I be safe at my work?

3 Who will I speak to? You can call the Police if you have been placed in a state of fear and alarm, assaulted, raped or sexually assaulted. Assault is a criminal offence, rape and sexual assault are a crime even if you are married to or living with the person committing the offence. Police Scotland s Domestic Abuse Investigation Unit can give support and information. ASSIST is a support and advocacy project co-located with Police Scotland in Kilmarnock Police Station. Their primary concern is the safety and well-being of their clients. Some of their clients say that they are experiencing domestic abuse, and others do not and they aim to ensure all their clients are safe, informed and supported throughout their involvement with the court process. ASSIST offers crisis support and information including risk assessment and safety planning, support and advocacy throughout the court process, and short-term post court support to help you access other services. ASSIST will aim to contact you within 24 hours of the referral being accepted to discuss your risk and safety. ASSIST will share information with the court on your behalf, informing them of your views. Contact details ASSIST c/o Kilmarnock Police Office 10 St Marnock Street Kilmarnock KA1 1TJ Telephone: Police Scotland Domestic Abuse Investigation Unit c/o Ayr Police Office 10 St Marnock Street, Kilmarnock Tel: In an emergency dial 999 Hours: Monday to Friday - 8am to 4pm https://www.scotland.police.uk/domestic-abuse/ You can also speak to a friend you trust, to your doctor, health visitor or practice nurse. You may need medical attention for your injuries it is important that health workers know how

4 and when your injuries happened and it can prove helpful if you ask them to note this in your medical records. You can contact support agencies who are experienced in issues surrounding domestic abuse such as such as South Ayrshire Women s Aid or the Scottish Domestic Abuse Helpline which operates a 24 hour service. South Ayrshire Women's Aid 6 Miller Road, Ayr, KA7 2AY Tel: Hours: Mon-Thu 9.00am pm, Fri 9.00am -4.00pm Out of hours and public holidays answering machine only Moving on South Ayrshire Eglington Chambers 21 Wellington Square Ayr KA7 1EZ Tel: Hours: Monday - Friday 9am pm Scottish National Domestic Abuse Helpline Tel: Hours: 24 hour helpline Victim Support MacAdam House 34 Charlotte Street, Ayr, KA7 1EA Tel: Hours: Monday to Friday 10am to 2pm Broken Rainbow LGBT DV (UK) Helpline Tel:

5 Shaktie Women s Aid Tel: Amina, the Muslim Women s Resource Centre Network House 311 Calder Street GLASGOW G42 7NQ Tel: Hemat Gryffe Women s Aid Flat 0/1 24 Willowbank Street Glasgow G3 6LZ Tel: The South Ayrshire Multi-Agency Partnership has produced a directory which provides a range of information on local support services available including domestic abuse, rape and sexual assault, children and young people and lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) click on the link below for access to this directory:

6 I have left the relationship but I am staying at home how can my children and I be safe? Contact South Ayrshire Women s Aid or Police Scotland Domestic Abuse Unit for advice on how to make your home more secure. There are options available which can increase your safety and feelings of security at home such as the installation of domestic abuse alarms and personal portable alarms. You can also consider changing the locks if you suspect your partner may have a key. Where appropriate you can apply to the court for an exclusion order if your home is in joint names if the court believes you are at risk this may be granted. The court can also attach a power of arrest to the order so that if he tries to come into your home he can be automatically arrested by the police. If the home is not in your name, and you are married you have an automatic right to live there. If it is privately owned or leased you can apply to transfer either the title for the house or the tenancy agreement into your name. The court will closely examine the need for both parties and see if you have alternative accommodation and they will examine the needs of your children if you have any. It is always best to speak to your lawyer for further advice. If you are not married some of these rights won t apply so speak to your lawyer for advice. There are other things that you can do as well to keep you and your children safe: Let work, your children s school/nursery and others know about your situation. Vary your daily routine. Change your phone number(s) and screen your calls. Make sure you make a note of any future contact you have with your abuser save messages or letters, record dates and times of incidents these can be extremely helpful for future legal proceedings. Get a lawyer who is experienced in working with women fleeing from domestic abuse. South Ayrshire Women's Aid has information about local contacts. If you have an interdict, consider asking your neighbours to phone the police if they see your abuser.

7 I have left the relationship but I need to leave home what will I do and where will my children and I go? If you need to escape from the abuse try to: Tell a trusted person what your plan is. Have some money hidden away for taxis, bus/train fares and phone calls, and have a list of emergency phone numbers. Have important documents ready to take with you if you can child benefit information, rent book, copy of mortgage papers, marriage and birth certificates and passports. Don t worry if you can t manage this as you can get help to obtain copies once you have left. Have a change of clothes for you and any children possibly at the house of someone you trust. Also have some photos and toys for your children to help them cope with the change in situation. If you have had to leave your home in a hurry, contact South Ayrshire Women s Aid they can organise a police escort so that you can go back home and remove essential items so make sure you have a set of keys. Someone from South Ayrshire Women s Aid can go with you as well. South Ayrshire Women s Aid has emergency facilities available for women and children fleeing domestic abuse who need temporary accommodation.

8 South Ayrshire Women s Aid South Ayrshire Women s Aid is an all women, confidential charitable organisation which provides information, support and refuge for women and any accompanying children who are experiencing domestic abuse. Women can access support whether they are currently in or have left an abusive relationship. Above all, Women s Aid will respect the choices of the woman. What can we provide? One to one support either in person or by phone. A drop in service. Information on housing, welfare benefits and legal issues. Practical and emotional support. A safe place to stay. Liaison with other organisations. A support service for children and young people. A rural outreach support service. An Independent Advocacy Service. Support to go to Court. What we won t do We won t blame the woman for what has happened. We won t tell women what to do. We won t ask for evidence of abuse. We won t listen to abusive men. We won t provide couples counselling. We won t make judgements. South Ayrshire Women's Aid 6 Miller Road, Ayr, KA7 2AY Tel: Hours: Mon-Thu 9.00am pm, Fri 9.00am pm Out of hours and public holidays answering machine only.

9 South Ayrshire Women s Aid Refuge South Ayrshire Women s Aid can offer two forms of refuge accommodation to women who are fleeing domestic abuse. We have a communal refuge with private bathroom facilities for eight women and their children. Specially trained support workers are based on site to offer emotional support and practical information relating to all aspects of domestic abuse. A children and young person s worker is also based within the communal refuge. South Ayrshire Women s Aid can also provide stand alone, fully furnished refuge properties throughout the area. Women who are living in these properties can also access support services from a worker who will visit at a time convenient to the woman. Any children in these properties will also receive support. The refuge is a safe house where you can stay with your children, they are not like hostels or institutions, you can have your own say about what goes on in a communal refuge. All staff are specially trained to work with women and children who have experienced domestic abuse. What can South Ayrshire Women's Aid refuge service offer? Where appropriate/available, refuge space for women fleeing domestic abuse, for women with or without dependent children. Practical and emotional support within refuge and stand alone refuge accommodation. Information about legal, housing, financial and benefit rights and entitlements. You can: Stay in a refuge as long as you need to. Take the time to decide what you want to do. Get support to help you achieve whatever option you've chosen. Return home knowing that you will be entitled to refuge space in the future. Move into refuge knowing that you have not planned to leave your partner permanently - respite visits are common. Be safe - refuge addresses are confidential, and there are refuges all over Britain which you can move to if you can't stay in your own area. Get support from other women who have experienced abuse and who are living in the refuge. Get support for your children too. What can Women's Aid refuge service offer children and young people? Youth Support to make sense of their experiences. Support to validate experiences and work on issues of self esteem and confidence. Support to address issues such as equality, respect and misuse of power. Help in developing keeping safe strategies for the future. Peer group work where appropriate. Play and recreational opportunities.

10 Practical support with nursery, school, college enrolment, travel passes, etc. Rights information. How long can I stay in refuge? Refuges are temporary but this can mean anything from a few days to a few months or longer depending on what you feel you need. Some women may only want to stay for a few days to get a breathing space while other women may want to stay until they obtain somewhere safe to live permanently. You can decide whether you want to stay for a short time or until you can arrange alternative housing. If you decide to return to your partner from the refuge you will be supported in your decision - you can always contact South Ayrshire Women's Aid again in the future if you want or need to. If you want to obtain permanent re-housing or to exclude your partner from the family home, we can give you the information and support you need.

11 Where can I get legal advice? A lawyer will be able to explain in detail your legal rights and describe the court procedures that may be necessary to enforce your rights. If you don t already know a lawyer, Women s Aid can provide guidance on how to get in contact with one. Alternatively contact your local Citizens Advice Scotland Bureau. Some lawyers may give you a first interview free of charge or may charge a small fixed fee you can find this out when you first make contact. Your lawyer will also advise you on whether you are eligible for legal aid. Many women worry about taking legal action because they are afraid to go to court. Your lawyer will be able to explain the court process to you. There are organisations who can support you through the court process, this includes the Independent Domestic Abuse Advocacy Service from South Ayrshire Women s Aid and the ASSIST project.

12 Independent Domestic Abuse Advocacy Service An Independent Domestic Abuse Advocacy Service (IDAA) provides a person centred service to women who have been identified as having a medium to high risk of further harm due to domestic abuse. The IDAA s priority is to develop a Care Pathway for each woman based on an indication of risk and each woman s individual needs. What IDAA s offer Ensure safety measures are in place eg refuge, additional security and safety plans. One to one support for women at home or a place of safety. Accompany the woman to meetings/appointments. Provide advocacy on behalf of the woman during meetings. Support the woman, in person, through the court process. IDAA workers will visit the woman at her home or if this is not possible at a place of safety. This will enable the woman to make informed choices regarding supports that may be offered.

13 Can I stop my abusive partner/ex-partner harassing me and leave me alone? You can apply for protective orders through the civil court in addition to steps you might already be taking through the criminal court. Your lawyer will advise you of the best course of action take, and will be best placed to consider your individual circumstances. Options may include an interim interdict and a protection from harassment order which can protect you and your children. Interim Interdict An interim interdict against abuse can be applied for very quickly. The interdict has to set out the acts of abuse threatened or actual from which protection is sought. Although some corroboration of the abuse is necessary the court is flexible about the nature of that corroboration. Firsthand witnesses are not always available due to the nature of domestic abuse, however, close family or friends who have witnessed you with injuries or in a state of distress shortly after an incident can also provide evidence. Medical reports and police reports are extremely helpful. An interim interdict, if not made final, will last for up to twelve months. It can be recalled by an earlier order of the court. The interdict will commonly cover abuse such as physical assault, verbal abuse, causing distress by following, phoning or texting, attendance at a place of work or a home or a child s school. The terms of an interim interdict are flexible and can be adapted to suit particular circumstances, for example, stating that your partner cannot come within a certain distance of you or your home. An application for interdict can also include an application for a power of arrest to be attached to the interim interdict. It takes slightly longer for this to be considered and your partner has to have notice of the hearing which is fixed to consider the application. The court has to be satisfied that the power of arrest is necessary and it is normal practice to produce evidence such as affidavits from witnesses, a medical report, a police report or an extract conviction. Once a power of arrest is granted by the court it has to be intimated to the perpetrator. The police then have a record of it on their system and if you contact the police and advise that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the interdict is being breached the police have the power to proceed with an arrest. After that the proceedings are dealt with by the Procurator Fiscal in a similar way to a criminal prosecution. A power of arrest is now granted for a specified period up to a maximum of three years. Protection from Harassment Order A protection from harassment order can be obtained if a fairly consistent pattern of abuse has been experienced. The court requires to be satisfied to a high standard that there has been behaviour which is intended to harass you, that it has happened on at least two occasions and that there is an intention to persist in this behaviour. This is a rather more difficult order to obtain than an interdict or power of arrest but it is a criminal offence to breach a non-harassment order and therefore it provides effective protection.

14 How can I be safe at my work? At your place of work explain the situation to your line manager in confidence so that some safety measures can be put in place, this could include: Having your phone calls screened. Reviewing your work schedule and/or changing your work hours. Moving to another work location if feasible. Being able to park close to your office possibly having someone to escort you to and from your car for additional safety. Using different routes to get to and from work. Providing your line manager with an emergency contact person and telephone number(s).

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