What support is available for victims of Domestic Abuse?
Fri 2 June 2023
Traditionally, we tend to assume that to be a victim of Domestic Abuse, you need to have been physically assaulted. However, this is not always the case and Domestic Abuse may come in many different forms. The definition extends beyond the classic interpretation.
Domestic abuse can be any of the following:
- Coercive control (a pattern of intimidation, degradation, isolation and control with the use or threat of physical or sexual violence)
- Psychological and/or emotional abuse
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Financial or economic abuse
If you have suffered any of the above, then you could be a victim of domestic abuse.
Where can you find support if you are victim of Domestic Abuse?
It is important to seek help at the earliest stage possible. Whether that be from the victim or from those around that victim who are recognising signs of abuse.
If you believe that someone around you is being abused, you should encourage them to seek support. There are various different sources that will be able to support you:
- Support agencies such as domestic abuse charities,
- Independent Domestic Violence Advocates (IDVA)
- The Police
- Legal Services.
How can Taylor Rose MW help?
The law provides three avenues of protection when it comes to Domestic Abuse claims.
- First, there is a warning letter. This is a letter which sets out that the behaviour shown is not suitable or appropriate and that any continuation of the same behaviour will result in further action. The police should also be consulted at this time. If there is an immediate and significant risk of harm a warning letter may not be the suitable course of action.
- A Non-Molestation Order is another form of legal projection that may be granted. A Non-Molestation Order can be applied for against 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 be made very quickly and if there is an immediate risk of significant harm then an order may be made without the other person being there. This is what is known as an ‘Ex Parte’ hearing.
These orders often place restrictions on the person such as:
- Using or threatening violence against yourself or your child.
- Intimidating, harassing, or pestering you.
- Coming within a certain area where you may be or encouraging anyone else to do so.
If there is found to be breach of the non-Molestation order the party will find themselves in criminal court.
The other parties do still have a right to reply, and this takes 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.
Any Order put in place usually lasts 6-12 months and can be extended if it is felt there is a genuine need to do so.
- The Final Order that can be obtained through the family Courts are Occupation Orders. These are orders that are usually applied for alongside a Non-Molestation Order where the parties live together.
Similar to a Non-Molestation Order, there must be a significant and immediate risk of harm.
Generally, these are not made ex parte. The reason for this is that it excludes the other person from the property for a short period. However, it must be shown that the other person has somewhere they can stay and have sufficient means to support themselves. These orders do however provide a certain degree of protection and reassurance.
If you are in receipt of a low income or on benefits, it may be the case that Legal Aid is available for you to obtain these orders.
Domestic Abuse is wide ranging and sadly a very common occurrence within England and Wales. At Taylor Rose MW we pride ourselves in offering our clients the legal and emotional support to get through these difficult issues.
If you would like any additional information or have any questions, please contact Darren White by clicking the ‘contact us’ button to email him directly or call him direct on 01925 256648 at our Warrington office.