Are victims of gaslighting protected by the law?
Fri 14 April 2023
Following a recent episode of Emmerdale, many ITV viewers were enraged to see the reaction of the character Marcus after his boyfriend in the show, Ethan had discovered Marcus had been cheating. Marcus, rather than showing signs of guilt decided to blame his infidelity on his partner. This is a form of gaslighting and sadly, can be an all-too-common occurrence in many relationships and does amount to abuse.
What is gaslighting?
A definition of gaslighting is an elaborate and insidious technique of deception and psychological manipulation, usually practiced by a single deceiver, or “gaslighter” on a single victim over an extended period. An example of gaslighting would include insisting that a victim did not say something or has made something up, even though the statement is true.
Is there legal protection available if you are a victim to gaslighting?
Gaslighting can have a profound impact upon the victim and it does fall under the definition of psychological or emotional abuse. What many victims don’t realise is that there is legal protection available.
You may acquire legal protection through a Non-Molestation Order. A Non-Molestation Order is available to an ‘associated person’.
An associated person is defined as people who have or have had an intimate personal relationship with each other which is or was of a significant duration, the definition can be found in section 62(3) of the Family Law Act 1996.
A Non-Molestation Order can often be made the same day as instruction and if there is an immediate risk of significant harm usually without the other person being there (Ex Parte).
What will happen if a Non-Molestation Order is granted?
Through making this order, this would usually mean that the person is stopped from:
- Using violence against you.
- Threatening to use violence against you.
- Sending any communication to you of a threatening or abusive nature.
- Encouraging anyone else to do any of the above.
- Come within 100 meters of your property or anywhere you may stay.
These orders carry a power of arrest which if breached can lead to the person being arrested and put before the court.
The other parties involved do have the right to reply to any Ex Parte Order and this will take place at a later hearing where the Court will hear from both parties. However, arrangements can be put in place for separate waiting areas and screens if deemed appropriate.
How long will a Non-Molestation Order last?
Any order put in place will usually last 6-12 months and can be extended if it is felt there is a genuine need to do so.
What are the options for those on a low or limited income?
What also might not be known is that those on benefits or in receipt of a limited income can access Legal Aid to move forward with these matters.
There are also a number of charities available online. We have listed some below.
Nobody deserves to be the victim of domestic abuse. At Taylor Rose MW we pride ourselves on offering our clients the support they need at this time.
For assistance relating to any abuse matter please click the ‘Contact Us’ button. Darren is also available on 01925 256 648 at our Warrington office.