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Housing and domestic abuse

Domestic abuse occurs when someone close to a person (usually a spouse, a partner or an ex-spouse or ex-partner) behaves towards that person in a way that inflicts physical, mental or emotional damage. This section looks at housing issues that can arise when someone is experiencing domestic abuse.

Leaving the home

There are a number of options available if someone wishes to leave their home because of domestic abuse. 

Consequences of leaving home

There are various issues to consider if someone has left their home because of abuse and now wishes to return. 

Transfer of tenancy

If the person wishes to remain in the rented home and s/he is not the tenant, or is a joint tenant, then s/he can apply to have the tenancy transferred into her/his name and become the sole tenant. 

Matrimonial homes legislation

The Matrimonial Homes (Family Protection) (Scotland) Act 1981 (Matrimonial Homes Act) introduced a number of orders that can be used in cases of domestic abuse. 

Remedies for civil partners

The Civil Partnership Act 2004 introduced a number of orders that can be used in cases of domestic abuse. 


In Scotland, civil law provides a system of interdicts and interim interdicts that may be used in cases of domestic abuse. 

Legal remedies under criminal law

In any relationship the criminal law can, in theory, be used to bring proceedings against a violent partner for a range of offences. 


It is possible to obtain damages for any civil wrong committed against a person or a person's property. This is worthwhile pursuing only if the person claimed against has sufficient funds to pay. 

Non-harassment orders

Non-harassment orders are an alternative to interdict orders where there have been at least two incidents of harassment. 

Protection From Abuse (Scotland) Act 2001

The Protection from Abuse (Scotland) Act allows a power of arrest to be attached to some interdicts. 

Remedies under the Children (Scotland) Act 1995

The Children (Scotland) Act 1995 allows a local authority to take action to protect children's rights. 

Remedies on divorce

A divorce will normally deal with the question of future ownership or tenancy of the matrimonial home. 

Remedies on dissolution

This section looks at remedies available when a civil partnership is dissolved. 

This content applies to Scotland

Last updated: 29 December 2014