"You don't have to win the lottery to escape domestic violence"


The final episode of BBC’s critically acclaimed drama "The Syndicate" aired this week, which looked at how winning the lottery transforms the lives of ordinary people.

Domestic Abuse Family Law

In the final episode of the series it focused on the character of Mandy Atkinson a member of the Syndicate (her share being a staggering £14 million) and a successful nurse. As Mandy’s story unfolds it becomes clear that Mandy has for years been subjected to both physical violence and emotional abuse at the hands of her husband.

Mandy has a daughter and a young granddaughter, and feels a great sense of loyalty to her family and believes that there is simply no way out of her increasingly abusive relationship. At continuing intervals during the final episode, Mandy’s abusive husband tells her that if she leaves him, he will find her and that she will never escape him.

Ultimately, the episode concludes with the character of Mandy jetting off to the Greek island of Crete and buying herself a new property there as a means of "escaping" her violent husband.

Clare Linden of Simpson Millar LLP's family law team said: "Of course Mandy, given her lottery win, was in a position to leave the country and start a new life, but that simply is not the reality for the millions of domestic violence sufferers in the country today."

"Whilst watching this episode, I was deeply concerned that viewers may be watching, thinking that there is no escape from an abusive relationship. This is not true."

"It was for this reason that I felt compelled to write this article to reassure people that there are options available to the sufferers of domestic violence so that they can take steps to protect not only themselves, but also their families from an abusive partner."

Can I get Legal Aid?

On 1st April 2013, the Government introduced radical reforms to the Legal Aid system, which means that Legal Aid is now not available for a number of Family Law cases. However, the Government has recognised the seriousness of domestic violence and Public Funding does remain* (subject to means testing) for cases where a woman and/or man requires urgent protection from an abusive partner.

Access to confidential legal advice and support

At Simpson Millar LLP we are committed to assisting the victims of domestic violence and ensuring that they feel supported in their time of need. We have links with a number of domestic violence organisations who can assist women and men who feel that there is simply no way out.

We have a dedicated team of specialist lawyers who are happy to meet with individuals and discuss the circumstances of their case and to discuss the options available to them.

It is true to say that you really do not have to win the lottery to escape an abusive relationship.

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