Scared to go Home for Fear of Abuse or Violence?
Domestic violence is defined as "any incident of threatening behaviour, violence
or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults
who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or
Is it domestic abuse?
The reality of domestic violence is that it manifests itself in innumerable ways,
all of which are equally damaging. Historically, the physical aspects have been
most prominent, but domestic violence is much more than this. It includes:
- aspects of control, eg access to money and preventing access to support networks
such as family or friends.
- verbal abuse and what the charity Women’s Aid terms
'destructive criticism'- behaviours such as name calling
It is considered in a much wider context now than it has been at any other time.
How the Law can help to protect you from domestic violence
The Family Law Act 1996 is vital to helping protect victims of domestic violence
and also their children. There are 2 main types of order that can assist eg:
- Non-molestation Orders
This prevents someone from being violent or threatening violence against you or
your child. It also includes intimidation, harassment, or pestering. Breaching this
order is now a criminal offence. More info on Non-Molestation Orders.
- Occupation Orders
This order relates to who can live in the family home and can also restrict access
to the surrounding area as well. If the abuser breaks this order then they will
only be arrested if a power of arrest document was lodged with the occupation order.
More info on Occupation Orders.
Will the abuser be notified?
With each of these 2 orders they can be made with or without notice eg notifying
the abuser or not, for example in emergency situations.
Section 45 of the Family Law Act permits the court to make an order in these circumstances
where it is just and convenient to do so. The court will review all the relevant
circumstances, such as any risk of significant harm to the applicant or relevant
child if the order is not made immediately.
How our legal team can help you
Our domestic violence solicitors can assist by discussing your options with you
confidentially and informing you of your potential choices. You will then be able
to take back control and decide what you wish to happen next.
You are able to submit an application for an order to the courts yourself but if
you feel that you need the support of a solicitor and/or ongoing legal advice we
can apply for a non-molestation or an occupation order with the courts on your behalf
if this is something you wish to pursue.
All applications under the Family Law Act are dealt with by the Magistrates' Family
Proceedings Court or the County Court, or in some cases the High Court. Only the
parties involved and their legal representatives will be allowed into the closed
court so you can be assured that your privacy is taken into account.
Emma Pearmaine is head of family law at Simpson Millar LLP and she handles a mixture of financial proceedings, private children and domestic violence matters. She is described as "approachable, experienced and conscientious" and she impresses clients by "taking the initiative to explore aspects of a seemingly impossible situation."
Chambers & Partners UK 2014
Am I entitled to Legal Aid?
Legal aid is available for victims of
domestic abuse. There are 2 types of legal aid eg legal help and full legal aid.
Legal Help covers all of the steps required before court hearings, such as initial
meetings and advice, letter writing and telephone calls. If an application to court
is to be made and a hearing becomes necessary, full Legal Aid will be required.
We know that in many domestic violence cases that urgent action is required, so
when this is necessary an application for emergency funding can be made if it is
in the interest of justice for it to be granted.
Help and support services
It is important to remember that whilst legal provisions can be key, there are additional
forms of assistance that can be of immense importance in domestic violence cases.
National organisations such as:
These services offer online resources as well as dedicated telephone helplines,
dealing with areas such as housing and welfare benefits advice. They can also offer
information on outreach services and refuges. It is also important to remember that
there are also local organisations who can offer geographically specific assistance, for example in relation
to safe accommodation in the local area.
The Corporate Alliance against Domestic Violence
There is growing recognition as to the role in which employers can undertake in
terms of supporting employees who may be suffering from domestic violence. It can
be immensely difficult to broach such an issue on either side, but an inclusive
and constructive dialogue can be positive, for example in assisting employees with
coping strategies for use whilst they are working.
Emma Pearmaine, Head of Family and Matrimonial Law at Simpson Millar LLP, is currently
working with the Rt. Hon Baroness Scotland of Asthal QC, former Attorney General,
as ambassador for the Corporate Alliance Against Domestic Violence (CAADV). Given that the impact of domestic violence can be
as far reaching as the workplace, CAADV aims to raise awareness of the relevant
issues and to help employers to work proactively in ensuring workplace safety, supporting
and protecting their employees.
Here to help you...
Contact our domestic violence solicitors now to get the legal advice
you need. We can help you by completing our, no obligation, online
enquiry form and we will call you back or you can call us directly on freephone: 0808
Want to see a Family Lawyer out of Working Hours
We have family ourselves and know just how hectic family lives can get and taking time out during the working day can be hard so we offer face-to-face or telephone appointments on Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings:
By Appointment Only
- Thursday Evenings from 5pm - 7pm
- Saturday Mornings from 9am - 12 noon
- Please make sure you book your appointment in advance regardless of whether it is by telephone or face to face
To book either: