Domestic abuse – help is out there
With calls to the National Domestic Abuse helpline up by 80% in June as restrictions ease, there is a surge in people seeking refuge places to escape their abusers. Family Solicitor, Simon Walker discusses the rise in allegations of domestic abuse or controlling coercive behaviour and where to go for help if you need it.
Domestic abuse can take many forms and does not necessarily have to include physical violence. It is a pattern of behaviour on the part of the abuser designed to control a partner. It can happen at any point in a relationship and ranges from verbal to serious acts of physical violence.
At a time when we are all faced with uncertainty about our future it is important to recognise that domestic abuse is never acceptable and not the fault of the person who is experiencing it, it is a crime.
Where to seek help?
Details of the support available can be accessed on www.gov.uk and include the following:
- Refuge – telephone: 0808 2000 247
- Respect Men’s Advice Line –telephone 0808 8010 327
- Galop, an LGBT+ domestic abuse service – telephone 0800 9995428
- Respect, a helpline for men and women who are harming their partners – telephone 0808 802 4040
If you are self-isolating with a perpetrator and worried about calling, The National Domestic Abuse Helpline has an online contact form or live chat function to enable you to make contact more discreetly.
How can we help?
While seeking legal advice and protection from the courts can seem daunting for most, we can provide confidential legal advice to help you understand the options available to you to ensure your safety.
One size does not fit all, but an understanding of your options of will enable you to make an informed decision about your future. There are two types of Court orders which provide protection and we can advise you which one is right for your particular situation.
A non-molestation order – prevents your partner, former partner or associated person from being violent or threatening violence towards you or any children. It also prevents intimidation, harassment and pestering (including in-person or remotely by letter, email, phone or social media) so as to ensure your – and your children’s – safety.
Under recent changes to the law, breaching a non-molestation order is now a criminal offence and a power of arrest is automatically attached to the injunction, meaning your abuser can be arrested simply for breaching the injunction without needing to have committed any other criminal activity.
An occupation order – defines who can live in the family home. It can also prevent your abuser from being in the surrounding area. You can also get an occupation order if you have left home because of violent behaviour but want to return without your abuser living there.