If you are experiencing domestic abuse, get in touch as we can help

In partnership with Women’s Aid East and Midlothian (WAEAML) and East Lothian and Midlothian Public Protection Office, East Lothian Council has been preparing an Equally Safe Housing Policy.

This policy - for tenants, individuals in the private rented sector and owner-occupied sector - will support women and children experiencing domestic abuse, and other forms of gender based violence, in East Lothian.

Due to COVID-19 and the increased risk it presents to women and children, East Lothian Council has brought in a number of measures now to ensure that help is available.

In each area office, a trained community housing officer holds responsibility for domestic abuse.  If you are a current tenant experiencing domestic abuse please contact your local office where you will be able to speak to a member of our team. If you live in the private sector, our Housing Options team are ready to help. Through our partnership with WAEAML and the Public Protection Office’s Domestic Abuse Service, our housing officers will work to find the best solution for housing and support.

Leading on the policy change is East Lothian Council’s Housing Strategy and Development Team.

Chief Executive of East Lothian Council Monica Paterson said:

“We hope we are sending out a strong message to people experiencing domestic abuse that East Lothian Council is here for you. You are not alone and help is available.”
Julie Watson, Chief Executive of East and Midlothian Women’s Aid, added:

“When the country went into lockdown we knew at Women’s Aid East and Midlothian (WAEML) that this would have a very real impact on the lives of women and their children experiencing domestic abuse. 

“Anyone living with an abuser will feel increased anxiety around the prospect of self isolation, quarantine and social distancing in a house with an abuser.  For the many victims/survivors who do not live with their abusers they may feel an increased level of fear at the prospect of their abuser knowing they are at home.

“WAEML are delighted to be working in partnership with East Lothian Council to ensure we are breaking down barriers and helping spread safe and good practice to ensure families are safe and supported in their home.  We’d like to re-assure everyone experiencing domestic abuse that local support is still available and we encourage you to reach out for help.” 

DCI Keith Mackay, Public Protection Unit, said:

"Police Scotland will not tolerate domestic abuse, tackling it is a priority for us and that has not changed because of COVID-19. Our officers are trained to recognise all the signs of domestic abuse including those coercive and controlling behaviours offenders use to frighten, humiliate and isolate their victims from those who can offer them support. We are also aware that abusers often try to manipulate others and to hide their abuse.”

Keith Mackay is also the chair of East Lothian and Midlothian Violence Against Women and Girls Partnership. He said:

"We want victims to be reassured that they are not alone. Those breaking the law will be dealt with appropriately to ensure the public is kept safe from risk and harm.

"We continue to treat reports of domestic abuse as a priority, and to respond to all domestic abuse related calls while taking the necessary steps, as appropriate, to ensure our officers are not put at risk.

"If you, or anyone you know, are at risk of domestic abuse then please call Police Scotland on 101, or 999 in an emergency. Or contact the domestic abuse and forced marriage helpline on 0800 027 1234, help is available 24/7."

Remember you are not alone if you are experiencing domestic abuse, ask for help:

  • If you are a council tenant Call 01620 827827 and ask for your local housing area office
  • If you are not a council tenant call 01620 827827 and ask for our Housing Options Team
  • Women’s Aid East and Midlothian (for women) 0131 561 5800
  • National Domestic Abuse Helpline 0800 027 1234
  • FearFree (for men) 0131 624 7266
  • Police Scotland on 101 or 999

Find out more about services which can help you.

If you are hurting the one you love and want to stop call Respect on 0808 802 4040.

If you are concerned for the welfare of a child, please contact Police Scotland on 101 or East Lothian Council Children’s Services on 01875 824 090.
In an emergency, always dial 999.

Published: Wednesday, 20th May 2020