Single Parent FAQs: Domestic Abuse


Our advice and information team who work on our Lone Parent Helpline, webchat and Ask a Question feature, receive questions from single parents around Scotland every day.

Our new feature – Single Parent FAQs – on our newsletter and blog spotlights Frequently Asked Questions on a different topic each month.

This month, our advice team have been receiving a lot of calls from single parents regarding domestic abuse.

Take a look at the FAQ's

My partner has been abusive to me for many years. I am thinking of leaving the relationship. What should I do and what help can I get?

Have a safety plan in place.  Draw up a safety plan for you and your child in case you have to leave home in a hurry.  Put emergency contact numbers on your mobile, have a bag ready to grab with some clothes, your child’s favourite toy, identification, driving licence, medication, birth certificates, passports, some money and benefit paperwork.  Agree with a friend or relative that you can go to them if you need or want to leave.  There are lots of support services out there for you:  you can call OPFS on 0808 801 0323, contact Scottish Women’s Aid on 0800 027 1234 or the Domestic Abuse Helpline 0800 027 1234 for emotional and practical support.

I have left an abusive relationship. I have no confidence or self-esteem. I am worried I will not be able to work. What benefits can I claim for myself and my children to support us through this difficult time?

As many benefits depend on your circumstances, this needs to be worked out on an individual basis.  At OPFS, our advisors are trained to complete benefit calculations and we can do this for you.  Based on the information you give, we will let you know what you may be entitled to, how to apply for this and will search for any other grants or funds that you may be able to claim.  You can receive a benefit calculation by calling 0808 801 0323.  We also have lots of useful information about benefits and other financial matters on our website.

I am a single dad and my ex-partner was abusive to me for many years before I left the relationship. I have never spoken about this and I would like some support now. Where can I go?

Domestic abuse happens to both men and women.  It’s important to talk about what has happened and get the support that you need. There are many specialist organisations for men who have experienced abuse.  OPFS can listen to you and provide you with practical and emotional support.  We may also signpost you to other specialist organisations, 0808 801 0323.

I feel I need emotional support because of the domestic abuse I have had to deal with. I have only recently left the relationship. I feel anxious and worried a lot of the time, can I get help?

At OPFS, we provide a safe space to talk through your worries and lend a listening ear.  You can call us during opening hours and one of our team will be ready to talk to you and provide you with practical and emotional support.  Call us free on 0808 801 0323 (interpreters are available) or you can live chat too.

You can also contact other specialist domestic abuse organisations such as:

Scottish Women’s Aid on 0800 027 1234 (open 24hrs)
Scottish Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0800 027 1234 (open 24hrs)
Amina – Muslim Women’s Resource Centre on 0808 801 0301
Shakti Women’s Aid on 0131 475 2399

My ex-partner is very controlling towards me. This is affecting my mental health and I am worried about the safety of the children. What can I do?

You can apply for a court order called an Interdict.  You can speak to Scottish Women’s Aid about this on 0800 027 1234.  This is a court order that can bar your ex-partner from threatening or assaulting you.  It can also prevent an ex-partner from coming near your home, work or child’s school.  Your solicitor can also ask for powers of arrest to be attached to the interdict.  In an emergency, a court can provide a temporary interdict within 24 to 48 hours.

I have a new partner now after separating with my ex-partner a long time ago. My ex-partner is not happy about this. They have started stalking me and sitting outside my home in their car. What can I do about this?

Make sure you let someone you trust know what is happening and contact the police.  There are other measures like Court Orders which can help in this instance too.  A Non-Harassment Order is a court order that prevents your ex-partner, their family or another person from behaving in a way that causes you distress or fear.  A non-harassment order can be obtained through the courts.  If a non-harassment order is broken, this becomes a criminal offence.

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