Our Positions

Positions on issues that are affecting children’s human rights in Scotland.

Domestic abuse

Our office has been working on the rights of children who experience domestic abuse for a number of years.


Scottish Women’s Aid offers confidential advice and information for both women and children and young people who are experiencing domestic abuse. Scottish Women’s Aid also has a Men’s Advice Line (tel. 0808 801 0327)

Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline is a 24-hour resource offering support to anyone experiencing domestic abuse as well as family members, friends, colleagues and professionals who support them (tel. 0800 027 1234).

If you wish to report a domestic abuse incident you can do so at your local police station or by using an online form. If the situation is urgent, telephone 101 and if it is an emergency, telephone 999. 

Our work around domestic abuse

In summer 2020 we worked with the Observatory of Children’s Human Rights Scotland to conduct an Independent Children’s Rights Impact Assessment. It looked at how children’s human rights have been affected by coronavirus laws and policies in Scotland.

The Impact Assessment looked at nine different areas, including domestic abuse. It found that:

  • Domestic abuse is more likely in lockdown. During pandemics violence against women and children tends to increase. Houses where abuse is taking place become harder to escape.
  • Children and young people’s access to support services may be restricted in lockdown. With face-to-face support less available, it may be unsafe or impossible to access support on the phone or online.
  • Issues in the justice system may be affecting domestic abuse cases. Delays in court processes and the transition of children’s hearings to being held online may both impact on children’s rights to safety and participation.

Earlier work

In 2013, we commissioned research on whether children’s views are heard in court proceedings around contact.

In 2015, we built on this work by working in partnership with Scottish Women’s Aid with a group of children on the Power Up/Power Down project.

The children created an image of a Super Listener as part of the project. It highlighted the qualities they thought were important for adults working with children to have:

An image of the ideal listener as imagined by young people in the Power Up/Power Down project.
The Super Listener is an adult with all the qualities they need to show a young person they’re being listened to.

Our research and Power Up Power Down have also informed our work on the Family Justice Modernisation Strategy, the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 and the Children (Scotland) Act 2020.


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