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Increased Protection for Victims of Domestic Abuse

June 25, 2021 Family Law

The Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 came into force on 1 April 2019. The Act defines abuse to be behaviour pertaining to physical, psychological, sexual, or financial exploitation. The Act provides protection for those affected by violence perpetrated by a spouse, partner, ex-partner, or someone they live with. Anyone can be affected by domestic abuse, irrespective of gender.

Recently, the Scottish Parliament debated the Domestic Abuse (Protection) (Scotland) Bill. The Bill was passed on 5 May 2021, which means it has now become law. It is hoped that the Domestic Abuse (Protection) (Scotland) Act 2021 will provide support for those suffering from domestic abuse. The measures introduced by the Act are ground-breaking, and of particular importance for those who are living with the perpetrators of the abuse.

The Act has introduced ‘Domestic Abuse Protection Notices’ (DAPNs), and ‘Domestic Abuse Protection Orders’ (DAPOs). DAPOs will provide the courts with additional powers. These powers will allow the court to impose requirements and exclusions on an individual suspected of committing an offence under the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018. We will explore the Notices and Orders introduced by the Act in further detail below.

DAPNs offer temporary yet immediate protection to an individual at risk, or having suffered from, domestic abuse. This can be crucially important if an individual is living in the same house as the perpetrator of the abuse. DAPNs can be made by senior members of the police, and can be put in place before applying for a DAPO from the court.

A DAPO can be granted by the Court. This order can last for up to two months, and may be extended for a further month. It is important to note that a DAPN does not need to be in place for the court to grant a DAPO. The court can order a suspected perpetrator to leave the home they share with a person at risk. The court can further prohibit the suspected perpetrator from making contact with the person at risk while the order is in place.

Further, The Act has introduced a new means to end a Scottish secure tenancy. This provides protection for social housing tenants, who may feel that they have no other option but to flee the home and render themselves homeless to escape the abuse they face at home. The Act allows landlords to terminate the tenancy of an individual who has behaved in an abusive manner towards their partner, or ex-partner. The individual who has suffered the abuse must also wish to continue to stay in the property.

The DAPNs and DAPOs introduced by the Domestic Abuse (Protection) (Scotland) Act are temporary measures, aimed at helping those suffering from, or at risk of domestic abuse. In the long-term, the person at risk of abuse may wish to apply to the court for a civil order. Jones Whyte are able to help you apply to the court for a civil order. There are a number of civil remedies available, such as asking the court to grant an interdict, or an exclusion order, which would remove the perpetrator from the home. If you think a DAPN, or a DAPO is something you may benefit from, we would urge you to contact the Police in the first instance. Thereafter, please contact our office and one of our solicitors in the Family Law department will discuss your case with you. We will be able to advise you of the civil remedies available to you, and will give you advice as to the next steps to take. Please be assured that all enquiries will be dealt with in a sensitive and confidential manner.

For information and advice on any related matter, please contact our specialist divorce solicitors, Amerdeep Dhami, Cameron Shaw, Chloe Barr and Danielle Trapp, by telephone on 0141 375 1222 or by completing our .

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