Our team specialise in domestic abuse cases and all the members of our Family Law team completely understand the problems and the effects that domestic violence has on children, dependants, and on your life outside the home, and at work.

We will work with you to try and ensure your safety and that of your children.

What is domestic violence?

The Government 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 abuse occurs across society, regardless of age, gender, race, sexuality, wealth, and geography, though the figures show that it consists mainly of violence by men against women.

Many abusers behave in ways that include more than one type of domestic violence, and the boundaries between some of these behaviours are often quite distorted.

There are different types of domestic abuse, however these can consist of:-

  • Emotional/Psychological – Emotional or psychological abuse can be verbal or nonverbal. Psychological abuse aims to chip away at the confidence and independence of victims. Emotional abuse includes verbal abuse such as shouting, name-calling, blaming and shaming, seclusion, intimidation, threats of violence and controlling behaviour.
  • Physical – There are a broad range of behaviours that come under the heading of physical abuse including actions such as punching; slapping; hitting; biting; pinching; kicking; pulling hair out; pushing; shoving; burning and strangling.
  • Sexual – Rape and sexual abuse is common in abusive relationships because an individuals right to consent is likely to be ignored. Any situation in which an individual is forced to participate in unwanted, unsafe or degrading sexual activity is sexual abuse.
  • Economic/Financial abuse – Economic or financial abuse aims to limit a victim’s ability to access help.
  • ‘Honour’ based violence (HBV) is a form of domestic abuse which is perpetrated in the name of so called ‘honour’.
  • A forced marriage is a marriage that is performed under duress and without the full and informed consent or free will of both parties.
  • Elder abuse – This is where harm is done, or distress caused, to an older person within a relationship where there is an expectation of trust.
  • Stalking – While stalking may be perpetrated by strangers or acquaintances, stalking is most often committed against women by former or current partners.
As a victim of domestic violence, what are my rights?

If you have been a victim of domestic violence you have the right to receive a certain level of service from the criminal justice system.

Your key rights include:

  • The right to be kept informed about your case by the police.
  • The right to hear when the suspect in your case is arrested, charged, bailed or sentenced.
  • The right to apply for extra help when giving evidence in court (called ‘special measures’) if you are vulnerable or intimidated or a child or young person.
  • The right to be told when an offender will be released.
  • The right to access support.
How the law can 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 e.g.:

  • Non-Molestation Orders –These orders prohibit someone from being violent or threatening violence against you or your child. It also includes intimidation, harassment, or pestering. Breaching this order is a criminal offence.
  • Occupation Orders – This order relates to who can live in the family home and can also restrict access to the surrounding area as well.
How we can help you

Our team specialise in domestic abuse cases and all the members of our Family Law team completely understand the situation. We are deeply aware of the problems and the effects that domestic violence has on children, dependants, and on your life outside the home; and at work.

Our team 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.

Will the other party be notified?

An application to court can be made without notice in emergency situations. The court then has to decide whether to make the order, or give the other person notice of the hearing, to give them the opportunity to be heard. The other person will be notified in an on notice application, as they have to be served with the papers. This consists of an application and a statement. If the application is made without notice, then the other person will be served with the order, the application and the statement after the order has been made, and the court will list the case for another court date at which that person can make representations to the court.

Funding and costs

You may be aware that since the 1st of April 2013 there were significant changes made in respect of Public Funding for matters covered by Family Law. The changes mean victims of domestic violence must have proof before they can get legal aid for family cases.

These changes have affected such issues as this however funding in some cases is still available and this is very specifically outlined by the Legal Aid Agency. Legal Aid is generally available for applying to the Court for non-molestation orders. The Legal Aid Agency still carry out an assessment of your finances, and may expect you to pay a monthly contribution from your income, or a one off contribution from your capital. Your legal adviser will assess your income, and advise you how much you are likely to have to pay towards your costs.

You can be assured that during your meeting with us a full assessment in this regard will take place and a member of our team will both explain and discuss these matters with you at your appointment.

We also offer fixed fee packages for these applications in the event that the amount required by the Legal Aid Agency is too much.

If you need advice with any area of family law, we can help. Please call 01484 538421to speak to one of our team. We provide a free consultation for up to 30 minutes.