How Does the Law Protect Victims of Domestic Violence?

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If you’ve been a victim of domestic violence in England or Wales, you can apply to the Family Court for an Injunction (Court Order) to protect yourself and any children you may have. There are 2 main types of Order that can help you:

Non Molestation Order

A Non Molestation Order prevents someone from being violent or threatening violence against you or your child. This Order also covers intimidation, harassment and pestering, and breaching it is a criminal offence. To make a successful application for a Non Molestation Order, you’d need to demonstrate in Court how you or your child will be at risk if the Order isn’t granted. For more detailed information see What is a Non Molestation Order?

Occupation Order

An Occupation Order deals with who can live in the family home and can also restrict access to the surrounding area. The Court’s decision on whether to grant an Occupation Order will be based on various factors, including the financial resources and housing needs of you and your abuser, and the possible consequences that making an Order or refusing it will have on you and your children. For more detailed information see What is an Occupation Order?

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How Simpson Millar Can Help You

Our Family Solicitors can help you by discussing your options with you confidentially and informing you of your potential choices. You’ll then be able to decide what you want to happen next.

You can submit an application for an Order to the Court yourself, but if you feel that you need a Solicitor’s support, we can apply for a Non Molestation or an Occupation Order with the Court on your behalf.

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 people involved and their Lawyer or Solicitor will be allowed into the closed Court, so you can be assured that your privacy is taken into account.

Our Family Solicitors know that urgent legal action is required in many domestic violence cases, so when this is necessary for a fee paying client, an emergency application can be made to the Court.

For initial advice get in touch with our Family Solicitors.

Help and Support Services

Domestic violence victims can benefit from additional support from national organisations including:

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. There are also local organisations who can offer assistance specifically related to your area, for example in relation to safe accommodation in the vicinity.

What Qualifies as Domestic Violence?

English law defines domestic violence 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 sexuality".

Domestic violence manifests itself in many ways, all of which are equally damaging. But while many people will focus solely on the physical aspects, domestic violence also encompasses:

  • Aspects of control, e. g. 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

That means the definition of domestic violence is now broader than ever before.

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