Legal advice and what action you can take...
If you are the victim of any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) from a family member or someone who you have been in an intimate relationship with, regardless of gender or sexuality, this is classed as Domestic Violence and Abuse.
Did you know that Domestic Violence can include but is not limited to: physical abuse (pushing, slapping, or intimidation); sexual abuse (including female genital mutilation); psychological abuse (harassment, pestering, shouting) and controlling behaviour (financial control and social isolation); forced marriage and causing a child to witness abuse? This may be a series of acts forming a pattern of behaviour or a single act.
For information about Stalking click here
In most cases, it is felt appropriate for a warning letter to be sent to the perpetrator insisting that they refrain from continuing their behaviour and a report being made to the Police. However, in certain situations, if you are fearful of your safety (and that of any children) should the perpetrator be warned of the action that you intend to take, we may feel that Court proceedings should be issued and an Order sought initially without their knowledge.
The Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 makes the offence of common assault an arrestable one and so the Police can deal with an abuser more easily than in the past. If a person is charged with an offence, bail conditions may be imposed that prevent the offender from contacting or visiting you.
If, however, the Police are not able to take action against the offender, you may wish to make a Court Application in the form of:-
(a) A Non-Molestation Order will contain a provision prohibiting the Respondent from using or threatening violence against you, harassing, pestering and intimidating you and, if necessary, protect any relevant child[ren]; and/or
(b) An Occupation Order will stipulate who should reside in the family home and the Court may impose additional Orders for example, obligations to pay rent/mortgage or other outgoings etc.
If you require additional practical advice on: housing; welfare benefits; help from the police or social services; debt and financial problems; immigration status and support servies, e.g. local refuges then please see details on the Domestic Violence and Abuse Card.
If you would like to talk to us confidentially about your legal rights please contact our family department for advice. Or call us on 01623 45 11 11 and ask to speak to Michelle Fowler. We are here to help you through a difficult time.
Michelle has also written a number of blogs on Domestic Violence issues including:-
We offer a 30 minute FREE consultation.