With calls to the National Domestic Abuse helpline up by 49% in the weeks since lockdown began, Family Solicitor, Victoria Cobham discusses the signs of domestic abuse 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.
It is important to recognise that domestic abuse is never the fault of the person who is experiencing it and it is a crime.
So, what are the recognised signs of domestic abuse?
- Threats– intimidating, shouting, and breaking things in front of a person.
- Harassment – checking their telephone, reading their emails, following a person, watching someone or having them watched.
- Criticising and verbal abuse– shouting at someone, name calling, verbal threats, accusations, belittling.
- Sexual violence– threatening violence, using force, degrading someone intimately.
- Physical violence– hitting, punching, biting, pushing, kicking, pinching.
- Isolating– persuading a person not to see family and friends.
- Pressurising– threatening to take the children away, threatening to withdraw financial support, threatening to harm themselves or the children, threatening to throw someone out of their home, threatening to report a parent to agencies about care of the children.
Anyone forced to change their behaviour because they are frightened of their partner or ex-partner’s reaction is experiencing abuse and should seek help. Remember you are not alone and there is support out there.
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, run by Refuge has an online contact form or live chat function to enable you to make contact more discreetly.
How can we help?
We can provide confidential legal advice to help you understand the options available to you to ensure your safety.
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.
Please get in touch today if you need help on 01749 342 323 or email email@example.com.