If you are experiencing domestic violence, one of the most difficult steps is often acknowledging that you are a victim. The legal scope of domestic violence protections is not limited to violence which is physical or sexual in its nature; it also now extends to what is called ‘coercive or controlling behaviour’ - essentially psychological and emotional abuse.
The immediate steps to take in the event of domestic violence are contacting the police and finding somewhere safe to stay. In England and Wales, the police may decide to make a domestic violence protection notice (DVPN) which allows them to put in place protection in the immediate aftermath of a domestic violence incident. These protections generally ban the alleged perpetrator of violence, with immediate effect, from returning to a residence and from having contact with the victim The DVPN must be reviewed by a magistrate after 48 hours, who may decide to impose a domestic violence protection order (DVPO) which extends the restrictions for 14 to 28 days.
In Scotland, you can report a domestic violence incident to the local police or access the Domestic Abuse Disclosure Scheme.