Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on domestic abuse

Guidance on domestic abuse to support the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on domestic abuse


Rules on staying at home do not prevent anyone from leaving their home to escape or keep themselves safe from domestic abuse. 
If you, or someone you know, is experiencing domestic abuse help is available call Scotland’s Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0800 027 1234 or visit Safer.Scot
Domestic abuse is a crime. Call 101 to report it or 999 in an emergency.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 (“the Coronavirus Regulations”) (implemented 26 March 2020) are reviewed at least once every 21 days.

We introduced measures requiring people to stay at home and away from others to help protect the NHS and save lives, as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

You should only leave the home for very limited purposes, for example:

  • for basic necessities, such as food and medicine. Trips must be as infrequent as possible
  • daily exercise, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household. Exercise can take place outdoors as often as you like, as long as you observe physical distancing rules
  • to ensure basic animal welfare needs are met, including taking dogs out when necessary
  • any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid or escape risk of injury or harm (this includes any form of domestic abuse), or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  • travelling for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home

More information: Coronavirus (COVID-19): staying at home and away from others (physical distancing)

Purpose of this guidance

This guidance supports the Coronavirus Regulations and is intended to highlight that the reference to escaping a risk of ‘harm’ includes escaping any form of domestic abuse.  Therefore, it is a reasonable excuse to leave your home in order to escape domestic abuse.

It is a Scottish Government priority that victims of domestic abuse and gender based violence get the support they need during these challenging times and are kept safe from harm. We have provided resources and links to support services.