Domestic Abuse – What Are My Options?

Lucy Nicholson
Author:
Lucy Nicholson
Family Law Solicitor
Date:
12/10/2021

With people spending more and more time at home, the pandemic saw an increase in domestic abuse. A few of weeks ago it was reported that Katie Price’s partner, Carl Woods, was arrested for allegedly assaulting her, although the case remains ongoing and no convictions have been made yet.

This is a reminder to us all that domestic abuse is extremely common and can happen to anyone, regardless of your circumstances and both men and women can be victims of domestic abuse. 

It’s also important to remember that domestic abuse does not just involve physical abuse, it can also be emotional and psychological, controlling and coercive behaviour.

If you’ve been affected by domestic abuse, there are a number of steps that you could take:

Apply for a Non Molestation Order

A Non-Molestation Order is an order that is designed to protect you from harm. It prevents somebody from threatening or using violence against you, harassing you or intimidating you.

You can apply for a Non-Molestation Order if you are “associated” to the person who is abusive, for example if they are an ex-partner, husband, wife or family member. 

You can make an application to the Court with a witness statement in support of the application, or one of our Family Law Solicitors can make the application for you. You may be able to make the application without giving notice to the other person, depending on the circumstances of your case.

Any breaches of a Non-Molestation Order are a criminal offence and they can be punished by up to five years in prison, although this maximum offence is rare. Any breaches should be reported to the police as soon as possible, though they can also be dealt with in the family courts.

Apply for an Occupation Order

An Occupation Order regulates who lives in the family home. You can therefore apply for an Order to exclude somebody who is abusive from your home. This will be for a limited period of time, typically for up to six months or a year, so you can then make plans that are more permanent.

You can make an application for an Occupation Order at the same time as applying for a Non-Molestation Order or it can be a standalone application.

Make a Police Report

Someone who is abusive may have committed a number of criminal offences and making a report to the police can mean that they are arrested and convicted.

The police can also help in emergency situations out of hours, when lawyers and other support services are not always available and of course they can help have someone leave the property immediately, or arrest them, if the circumstances warrant it.

Access Support Services

Every local authority has a list of support services that are available in your local area. Support services can help with practical issues like:

  • Safety planning
  • Housing advice
  • Reporting incidents to the police
  • Advice around benefits and finances
  • Therapeutic interventions

There are also some good national organisations who can provide support which include:

Counselling and Therapy

Abuse of any kind can leave a lasting impact and some victims of abuse find that counselling or other forms of therapy help restore their confidence and help them work through complex emotions.

It is common for people to feel reluctant to ask for help, in fear it might be used against them in court. But the family courts would never hold it against someone if they accessed good quality professional help that was going to help them.

For more advice one Non-Molestation and Occupation Orders, get in touch with our Family Solicitors today.

For initial legal advice call our Family Law and Divorce Solicitors

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