• Police Scotland - Highlands & Islands Division

It's more than just physical violence...

This post talks about domestic abuse and may be triggering for some people.

Illustration: ABC Life: Nathan Nankervis


"We never judge and are acutely aware that it can be a difficult choice for a woman to come forward and speak up about her experiences but we are part of something much bigger and, no matter where she lives, or what has happened, we can help #changeherstory.”

Violence and verbal abuse have long been recognised as behaviours associated with the perpetrators of domestic abuse. However, the law has evolved to recognise and protect victims of domestic abuse from a much wider set of behaviours.


Detective Inspector Calum Smith of the Domestic Abuse and Rape Investigation Unit explains more,


“Domestic abuse can be present in any relationship and can be committed in any place. Coercive control, physical control, emotional abuse, psychological abuse, financial control can be symptoms of domestic abuse.


It is vital that where a person in a relationship is being controlled or abused that they seek assistance and support from the police or other agencies. The impact of domestic abuse is not only on the victim but on all other persons in a household, which can be long-lasting.


Every day police prioritise the immediate response to domestic abuse. Any persons suffering in an abusive relationship are encouraged to come forward to police, where their report will be immediately addressed and support offered.


Through the combination of the bravery of victims coming forward, along with the response of police and partners the cycle of abuse can be broken.”


Within Highlands and Islands Division there is a Partnership Coordination Unit where Detective Constable Laura Stewart works in support of victims of gender-based violence. She explains what she and her colleagues do,


“Within the Partnership Coordination Unit, there is a team of dedicated and experienced police officers who carry out the role of Domestic Abuse Co-ordinators.


Our responsibility is to support and protect victims of domestic abuse across the Highlands and Islands. We work closely with partner agencies focussing on the safety of victims of domestic abuse. We speak directly to those who have suffered or may be at risk of abuse, to provide them with our expert advice, talking through the legal processes, and answering any concerns they have.


It is our hope that this will enable victims to gain the confidence to make changes so that they can live their life without fear of domestic abuse. On a regular basis, we see the courage and strength shown by domestic abuse victims and that drives our personal commitment and passion for this work within the Police Service of Scotland.


We never judge and are acutely aware that it can be a difficult choice for a woman to come forward and speak up about her experiences but we are part of something much bigger and, no matter where she lives, or what has happened, we can help #changeherstory.”


Detective Inspector Richard Ross, who leads the Partnership Coordination Unit at Police Headquarters in Inverness adds,


“Today we are posting information in relation to domestic abuse as part of the #changeherstory campaign. Sadly domestic abuse continues to occur within communities across the Highlands and Islands. Perpetrators should understand that we will respond to all reports of domestic abuse, wherever it occurs, across our division. We will use all the powers at our disposal to ensure the domestic abuse perpetrators face the consequences of their actions."

If you, or someone you know, is or may be at risk of domestic abuse please contact Police Scotland or our partner agencies for help. If the abuse is ongoing please phone 101, or 999 in an emergency.


If you have concerns about a victim of domestic abuse you can also help protect them by:

  • Speaking to police in person by attending at your local police station

  • Use the online reporting form on the Police Scotland Website, if you are unable to attend a station or wish to remain anonymous

  • Contact Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Help on 0800 0270 1234, where support is available 24/7

  • Call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111

  • Further advice in relation to Domestic abuse is available in the “How Can I?” section of the Police Scotland website.

Help us to keep people safe, reduce domestic violence, and #changeherstory.


Disclaimer: the views expressed in this post are those of the respective author and are not necessarily shared by the #ChangeHerStory Campaign partners.

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