Domestic violence, domestic abuse and injunctions
Our solicitors are experts in dealing with domestic abuse situations and we will act quickly and confidentially to provide you with support and advice and to provide you with the most appropriate legal solution for your situation.
We can provide you with information on how to protect yourself and your children and also help you to prepare for the future by advising you on injunctions, your rights of occupation in the family home and helping you with separation, divorce and financial settlements.
We provide a free half hour consultation and legal aid is available to everyone who needs injunctive protection, whatever your financial circumstances. You may, however, be required to pay a contribution towards your legal fees depending on your levels of income, savings and other assets.
What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence is when one person inflicts aggressive or abusive behaviour on another person who they are married to, cohabiting with, a relative of or a parent of the same child with.
Domestic abuse includes:
- Violence & physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Threats (against you or your children)
- Emotional & verbal abuse (calling you names, humiliation, playing mind games)
If you have been subjected to any of this behaviour contact us for a confidential consultation.
Does Domestic Violence affect only women?
No, domestic violence can affect either men or women. The same law applies.
How much does it cost?
If you are on a low income or benefits, you may be eligible for Legal Aid. We can assess you to see if this applies. If not, we can discuss fee structures with you.
What do I do next?
If the matter is urgent ring the police. You can also make an appointment with us to discuss matters. We offer a free initial consultation regardless of whether you pursue matters and will try and point you in the right direction.
What legal help is available?
Our solicitors can help you to take out an injunction against the person who is abusing you. This can often be done very quickly in emergency situations, sometimes even the same day, but usually on 2 days notice.
An injunction is the term used to describe the order that can be made by the courts to stop someone from doing something. For example, an injunction can be made which prevents someone from coming within a specified distance of you or your home. If an injunction is breached there can be additional legal consequences, such as arrest and imprisonment.
There are two main types of injunctions available:
A non-molestation order tells the person to stop the behaviour that they have been inflicting on you or your children. This will mean all the types of behaviour listed above and can prohibit the abuser from telephoning you, texting you, or trying to contact you in any other way.
Breach of a non-molestation order is now an arrestable offence and your solicitor will notify the police of any order made to protect you.
An occupation order tells the abuser to leave your home and not to go within a specified distance of it. Your partner can be forcibly removed from your home by the police if they refuse to leave.
Breaching an occupation order is not automatically an arrestable offence, so the family courts will often attach a power of arrest to the order so that if your abuser breaks the order they can be arrested and taken to court to be dealt with in the same way as with a non-molestation order. Again, the police are notified so that they are aware of the protection granted to you by the family courts and can act quickly if a problem develops.
Any breach of an order is taken very seriously by the courts and punishments can include a financial penalty and/or a prison sentence.
Both of these types of orders can be passed quickly by the courts and initially without the abuser being present (although the order is not effective until it has been personally served upon him/her).
There is an alternative remedy to an injunction order:
An undertaking is a solemn promise to the court either to do something or not to do something. An undertaking can be offered to the court by the alleged abuser in the same terms as an injunction. If the court considers it safe and appropriate, it will accept the undertaking in writing which affords similar protection to the victim but without the court making any findings that the alleged abuser has done anything wrong. There is no power of arrest, but breach of an undertaking is contempt of court and the case can be referred quickly back to the Judge who has the power to fine and/or imprison the offender in a similar way.
Injunction orders and undertakings usually last for a period of 6 months but can be extended where necessary.
Contact us to speak to one of our experienced solicitors who can give you more information.
Our team of family solicitors comprises Resolution Accredited Specialists, Collaboratively trained lawyers and members of the Law Society's Children Panel.