Separation and Domestic Abuse

Separation and Domestic Abuse

Navigating Domestic Abuse: Legal Insights for Family Law Practitioners

Domestic Abuse

What behaviour is considered domestic abuse?

Under the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018, which came into force in 2019, any behaviour that is violent, threatening or intimidating is considered abusive. This covers a broad range of behaviours, such as physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and financial abuse. The law applies to any partner or ex-partner, regardless of whether they are living together.

Protective Orders

All too often, domestic abuse is cited as a cause for the breakdown of a relationship and survivors of domestic abuse regularly face additional concerns when the relationship ends, such as concerns for their safety.

While the court can issue a non-harassment order if the accused is found guilty of domestic abuse, it is possible to obtain protective orders in the civil court. This may become necessary where the criminal process is taking too long, or where the police have insufficient evidence to charge the perpetrator with a criminal offence. Among other things, protective orders can be obtained to exclude the ex-partner from the joint home, known as an Exclusion Order, or prevent them from contacting or approaching the survivor, which is known as an Interdict.

Financial Abuse

An issue survivors of economic abuse can often be faced with is that they have little or no knowledge of their financial circumstances, which can place them at a disadvantage when dividing finances. Economic abuse is a form of coercive control and happens when a person interferes with their partner’s ability to acquire, use and maintain economic resources. Under the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018, coercive and controlling behaviour is a criminal offence.

Economic abuse can continue after a separation, for example through incurring debts the ex-partner is unaware of, refusing to pay for child maintenance or deliberately delaying legal proceedings.

How we can help you

If you are experiencing any of the issues raised in this blog or wish to discuss any of the above topics, please contact one of our Family Law solicitors and view more of our Family Law services here

Our Family Law Team are experienced in assisting clients through difficult separations/divorces and would be happy to discuss all of your options with you.


Sonja Kidd
Senior Solicitor



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