Domestic violence legal advice

Our family team treat the challenges that surround domestic violence with sensitivity and understanding, and have worked with many complex cases. These include getting emergency injunctions to protect you and your loved ones.

In difficult situations, our solicitors are here to help

If you find yourself in need of domestic abuse support, we’ll be happy to talk through your options confidentially.

Domestic violence is a pattern of behaviour which involves violence or other forms of abuse in a domestic setting. It is sometimes termed intimate partner violence when between husband and wife or same sex couples. However domestic violence is a broad concept, and can be perpetrated against children, parents or the elderly. It takes numerous forms including physical, verbal, emotional, economic, and religious abuse – either in subtle or extreme forms.

Whatever form it takes, or the level of veracity of the attack it is always alarming and frightening for the victim. We are able to offer you advice and support to ensure that you and your children can live in your home without fear of abuse whatever form it takes.

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Compact and experienced team which regularly acts for high net worth individuals across the South West, including cases with international elements. Highly thought of for its work on financial remedy matters together with related tax and pension issues. Also handles private law children matters, including child and parental alienation cases, and offers advice on cohabitation disputes.
Chambers & Partners 2020

Rebecca Silcock heads the practice and has experience in the legal ramifications of divorce and relationship breakdown on financial matters ranging from family trusts and inherited wealth to commercial ventures and family businesses.
Legal 500 2020

Next steps

If you require domestic violence legal advice, please get in touch with our family team for a confidential and no obligation conversation, or alternatively make an appointment to meet with a member of our team. You can speak to us on 0800 533 5349 or reach us on email at

There is no statutory definition of domestic violence but in law the concept is wide. The cross-governmental definition is "any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality".

Controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate or dependent by:

  • Isolating them from sources of support.
  • Exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain.
  • Depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape.
  • Regulating their daily behaviour.

Coercive behaviour is an act or a pattern of acts comprising of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish or frighten the victim.

If you feel that you have been subject to such treatment from a relative or partner then you ought to seek advice as to what action might be open to you.

There are orders that can be obtained from the court that will ensure that the perpetrator is not allowed to approach you (a non-molestation order) or that you are able to live in your property to the exclusion of your perpetrator (an occupation order). The orders that can be applied for can be made on notice or without notice. A without notice application enables the court to consider the validity of your application without reference to the perpetrator of the abuse. However you should note that the perpetrator will have the opportunity to respond to your application at a further hearing will be listed for this purpose shortly the initial hearing has taken place.

Before rushing to court for a non-molestation or an occupation order, you should consider reporting matters to the police. The police can often take more immediate action, if necessary. They can usually register either, your telephone number(s) or your home that domestic violence may be an issue and if serious enough issue warning to your perpetrator to leave you alone.

If funding is available to you then reporting matters to the police could be done at the same time as seeking a protective order (non-molestation or occupations order) from the court.

If you have suffered from any form of violence then you should consider taking further practical measures to protect yourself, such as:

  • Ensuring that you always have a fully charged mobile phone at hand in case of emergencies.
  • Know both the emergency and local police station telephone numbers (the local police can now be contacted by dialling 101) and the numbers of any relevant organisation, such as social services.
  • Know telephone numbers for trusted friends and relatives.
  • Perhaps have a code word to use when calling others to identify that the police should be alerted.
  • Asking trusted friends or relatives to regularly check on you.
  • Keep any car fuelled and ready to go with a spare key at hand.
  • Keep a bag of essential items at a place of safety ensuring that it contains cash, clothing, important documents and telephone numbers.
  • Ensuring that your home is securely protected.

When a client of ours has been harmed by, or is at risk of harm from a perpetrator of domestic violence, it may be necessary for us to act quickly on your behalf. Your safety, and that of any child concerned, is of paramount importance to us. We have the skills and expertise to help and guide you through applying for either a non-molestation order or occupation order or both with.

You might be entitled to public funding to assist you and whilst we cannot assist you in that regard, we will be able to provide you with details of those who can.

Some incidents will require immediate action and our advice might to be to proceed with an application. This will often be the case when there is an increased threat from your perpetrator. Many will seek advice immediately following a "justifying incident" of violence or threat of violence and it will be on the basis of events surrounding this incident that we will advise you what the best course of action for you is.

If any application is made on a without notice basis, the closer in time the application is made to the justifying incident, the greater the likelihood of success in satisfying the need for the order to be made as soon as possible.

Ultimately it will be your decision as to whether you wish to take any further action and if so when. Whatever action you choose to take we will be “on your side at your side”.

There are a number of relevant authorities and agencies from whom it may be necessary to seek assistance or information, including:

  • The police.
  • The local authority.
  • Domestic violence or women's charities, including refuges.
  • The housing department of the local authority or other housing organisation.
  • A MARAC.
  • The client's GP or other medical professional.

If you have reported an incident to the police then it is likely that we will request those reports later on in proceedings. References to police involvement (with accompanying crime reference numbers, if available) will add credibility your account in any further written evidence that you might have to file.

Where there are children involved, the local authority, social services and children's services (and other related agencies, such as the housing department) may already be involved. Where there are concerns regarding children, we will need to advise you on the steps that you need to take to ensure that your children are safeguarded from witnessing or suffering any further harm.

In high-risk cases of domestic violence, a MARAC may have been convened by the local authority between relevant local agencies, including the police. A MARAC allows information to be shared between these agencies to co-ordinate a safety plan. The victim who is the subject of a MARAC is often offered support through an Independent Domestic Violence Advocate (IDVA).

A MARAC may in its safety plan recommend that the client seeks a protective order and therefore be able to provide necessary details to help us with the application for the order. If you have been subject to a MARAC or you have been appointed and IDVA then we will work alongside these agencies and individuals to ensure yours and your children’s safety is secured.


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Meet the team

Rebecca Silcock
Rebecca Silcock
Partner and Head of Department
Victoria Cobham (née Strode)
Victoria Cobham (née Strode)
Associate Solicitor
Simon Walker
Simon Walker
Senior Associate Solicitor
Elizabeth Dowler
Elizabeth Dowler
Laura Somoza
Laura Somoza
Paralegal ACILEx

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