Domestic Abuse

The cross-government definition of domestic violence and abuse 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.

The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to:

  • psychological
  • physical
  • sexual
  • financial
  • emotional

If you or anyone you know is suffering domestic abuse of any kind, you should seek immediate help.

Many incidents of domestic abuse are criminal offences and the police can arrest, caution or charge the perpetrator. Most police stations have specially trained officers to deal with domestic violence and abuse. You should call 999 in an emergency or 101 in a non-emergency.

Domestic Violence Protection Orders are a new power that enable the police and magistrates to put in place protection in the immediate aftermath of a domestic violence incident, even if there is insufficient evidence to charge the perpetrator with a criminal offence.

A perpetrator can be banned with immediate effect from returning to a residence and from having contact with the victim for up to 28 days.

In the longer term, you will need to consider whether further protection will be required. This is likely to involve obtaining an injunction from the Court. There are three main types of injunction:-

Non-molestation Order

Prevents someone from using or threatening violence and also forbids them from intimidating, harassing or pestering you.

Occupation Order

Decides who can live in the home (in the short term) that you previously shared with your abusive partner. Can keep someone away from your home

Anti-harassment Injunction (Protection from Harassment Act 1997)

Stops your partner harassing or assaulting you.

Breaching this injunction is an arrestable offence carrying up to 5 years in prison.

The harassment has to have happened on two separate occasions – these can be months apart, and don’t have to be of the same nature.

Fear of an offence can also be a breach too – i.e. they don’t have to actually hurt you.

Legal Aid continues to be available for advice and representation in respect of obtaining an injunction. Whilst Major Family Law does not undertake Legal Aid work, we can advise you of your eligibility for financial assistance and discuss your options with you so that you can make informed decisions about protecting yourself and your children.

In the longer term, you may want to consider permanently separating from your partner or spouse, and we will advise you on your options and assist you if you wish to take formal steps in that regard. For more information, see Divorce & Separation, Finances on Divorce, and Children