According to the Office of National Statistics (2013), In 2011/12, 7.3% women (1.2 million) and 5% men (800,000) report having experienced domestic and the police reported nearly 800,000 incidents of domestic violence. The Home Office report that in 2012 around 1.2 million women suffered domestic abuse, over 400,000 women were sexually assaulted, 70,000 women were raped and thousands more were stalked. 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 know 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 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 supposed 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.