If you are suffering or have suffered from domestic violence in your relationship, Kidd Spoor Taylor’s Family Lawyers specialise in domestic abuse cases and are here to help you. We understand the effects that domestic violence has on your children and on your quality of life in general.
Domestic violence is simply wrong and taking the first step to end the violence is the first step towards making a fresh start. Our friendly and supportive Family Lawyers will explain the options available to you.
Domestic Abuse – What is it?
Domestic Abuse does not simply mean acts of physical violence against another person.
The Government* definition of domestic violence and abuse is:
‘Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or 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. This can encompass, but is not limited to, the following types of abuse:
‘Controlling behaviour is: a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour’.
‘Coercive behaviour is: an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.’*
These crimes are often hidden away behind closed doors, with the victim suffering in silence. It is not uncommon for those who have been exposed to domestic abuse to minimalise the effects of abuse, particularly if exposed to abuse over a long period of time, as it becomes a “normal” part of their life. Some victims may feel vulnerable or afraid for their personal safety if they were to speak to someone about what is happening to them.
What can I do to protect myself from further violence?
There are various civil remedies available to you under the Family Law Act 1996 to further protect yourself and your children from future violence or abuse.
A “non-molestation order” is a form of what is typically known as an “injunction”. Non Molestation orders prevent the person named in the order from engaging in a specific course of action which is defined by the order itself.
Typically a non molestation order will prevent the person named in the order from using or threatening violence against you or your child, or intimidating, harassing or pestering you, in order to ensure the health, safety and well-being of yourself and your children.
If you want the right to return to, stay in or exclude someone else from the home, you may need to obtain an “occupation order”. Occupation orders are orders which determine who should carry on living in the home in the short-term period after there has been violence or harassment.
An occupation order may:
- Allow you to remain in the home if your partner is trying to get you out
- Allow you back into the home if your partner has already thrown you out or is preventing you going back into the home
- Exclude your partner from all or part of the home
- Impose certain rules about living in the home
- State that you and your partner must live in separate parts of the home
- Exclude your partner from coming within a certain proximity of your home
- Order your partner to leave the home or a part of it if they are refusing to do so
Occupation orders usually last a specific length of time and are intended to be a short-term measure.
If you do not own the property and have not paid towards the cost of the property you can register what is known as your “matrimonial home rights” which says that you are still entitled to live in the property.
Your first point of call
If you or your family are experiencing violence and you are at significant risk for your safety then you should always telephone the Police. There are also a number of local and national organisations who offer support, accommodation and advice in relation to domestic abuse. You should contact your local council for more information.
Am I eligible to apply for an injunction?
In order for you to apply for one of these orders you must be an ‘associated person’. This means you and your partner or ex-partner must be related or associated with each other in one of the following ways:
- You are or have been married to each other
- You are or have been in a civil partnership with each other
- You are cohabitants or former cohabitants (including same sex couples)
- You live or have lived in the same household
- You are relatives
- You have formally agreed to marry each other (even if you no longer intend to marry
- You have a child together (this can include those who are parents of the child and those who have parental responsibility for the child)
- Although you may not live together, you are in an “intimate relationship of significant duration”
- You are both involved in the same family proceedings (i.e. In relation to divorce or contact)
I am too afraid.
I am too afraid of what might happen if my partner finds out about my application for an order.
Where the need for protection is urgent or there is risk of significant harm to the applicant such applications can sometimes be made without the person named in the order knowing about it. Under the terms of the order, any breach of the order may also be a criminal offence which could in turn be punishable with imprisonment.
Steps Forward with Kidd Spoor Taylor
Whether there has been one incident of violence or many it may be necessary to take steps to protect yourself, and your children, from further harm. If you are suffering or have suffered from domestic violence in your relationship, Kidd Spoor Taylor’s Family Lawyers are here to help you. We understand the effects that domestic violence has on you, your children and on your quality of life in general.
Domestic violence is simply wrong and taking the first step to end the violence is the first step towards making a fresh start. Our friendly and supportive Family Lawyers can advise you on the options available to you in your specific circumstances.
Legal Aid is available to victims of domestic violence or abuse. You can contact us on 0191 257 3101 and make an appointment with a Domestic Abuse specialist today to find out more.
Get in Touch
0191 257 3101
25 Northumberland Square