Help For Domestic Violence – A Detailed Guide
Jun 08, 2020 | Christopher Dolton
Domestic violence victims often have many barriers that stand in the way of them obtaining the right help; this can range from emotional, psychological, financial and physical threats. We have prepared a guide designed to provide some guidance to victims seeking help for domestic violence.
Recent statistics have revealed that domestic violence cases have surged since the start of the coronavirus crisis in the UK.
The UK’s largest domestic violence charity, Refuge, reported a 700% increase in calls to its helpline in a single day. A separate helpline for perpetrators of domestic violence seeking help to change their behaviour received 25% more calls after the start of the Covid-19 lockdown.
If you require help for domestic violence and are at immediate risk, you should contact the police for urgent assistance. Thereafter, you should contact a solicitor experienced in dealing with domestic violence cases, who can help you apply for a court order to protect you and your home from threat. To speak with one of our specialist domestic violence solicitors, you can call 0800 086 2929, email firstname.lastname@example.org or complete our Free Online Enquiry Form.
What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence is a single incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between people aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexual orientation. Domestic violence can be psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional.
I am seeking help for domestic violence – what can I do?
If you are a victim of domestic violence, you should try to find a safe place to stay. The government’s advice is that if you do find yourself in an abusive relationship you should leave your home to seek solace at a Women’s Refuge. You should also contact the police for urgent assistance and thereafter obtain specialist legal advice. An experienced family lawyer can help you obtain a court order to protect you.
You can also seek help for domestic violence from an organisation that provide free helplines and support to victims including the following:
What is a non-molestation order?
Victims who require help for domestic violence often obtain non-molestation orders. A non-molestation order is a court order that can prevent the abuser from harming or threatening the victim, contacting directly or indirectly the victim, damaging or attempting to damage the family home or any other property associated to the victim or instructing another person to take any of these actions.
What is an occupation order?
Domestic violence victims can also obtain something known as an occupation order. An occupation order is a court order that deals with who lives at the family home. It can order the abuser to move out of the family home, keep a specified distance from the victim or from the family home, stay in certain parts of the family home at certain times (for example to sleep in another room), let the victim back in the family home and continue paying the bills.
What is the application process?
If you require help for domestic violence, you can apply for both a non-molestation order and an occupation order at the Family Court. There is no court fee for applying. The victim or an appointed solicitor must prepare a witness statement that includes details about the relationship with the abuser, any children and the reasons and incidents that led the victim to apply. The victim can discuss with the solicitor what they want the order to do.
Will my abuser find out that I am trying to obtain a court order?
Many victims who are seeking urgent help for domestic violence apply without notice to the abuser. This means that the court will consider the application without the presence of the abuser. The court must be persuaded that there are good reasons to make the order urgently. A supporting report from the police or from a doctor can be attached to support the witness statement. The court will hold another hearing to give the abuser the chance to defend the allegations. However, the victim must attend this hearing and may need to provide evidence. The court will consider both sides and the evidence and decide accordingly.
How Elite Law Solicitors can help
If you are seeking help for domestic violence, you should get in contact with the police. You should then contact solicitors who will be able to provide you with assistance. Our specialist Family Law team can provide assistance and guidance to those seeking help for domestic violence. We will explain all the options available to you to safeguard you and your family including obtaining an injunction (a non-molestation order) or obtaining an order preventing an abuser from entering a property (an occupation order).
If you have any queries relating to any of the issues discussed in this article, please get in touch with Christopher Dolton, a senior solicitor in our Family Law department. Christopher has in excess of 30 years’ experience in Family Law and regularly represents clients in Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and throughout the UK.
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The content of this article is for general information only. The information in this article is not legal or professional advice.