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Partner and Head of Family Law, Rugby
Domestic Abuse has historically been referred to as Domestic Violence. Domestic Abuse however, is not just physical violence against someone. Domestic Abuse also covers emotional and psychological abuse as well as coercive behaviour.
Many people are often worried that it is harder to prove you are a victim of Domestic Abuse if there has been no physical violence as you have no physical injuries. It is just as common however, for domestic abuse to be emotional and psychological instead of physical violence. The law does reflect this and it is therefore more widely recognised that domestic abuse is not just physical abuse.
There are two routes available to a person who is a victim of Domestic Abuse.
The first is the criminal route. The police can be called and any incidents of Domestic Abuse can be reported. This will create a timeline of the abuse a victim is subject to and the police can provide other support such as a dedicated domestic violence workers and referrals to various support groups. As well as providing support to you as a victim the police can also prosecute the abuser. This can be anything from a Harassment Notice to a charge of coercive behaviour or assault as well as other criminal charges.
As well as reporting domestic abuse to the police, you can apply to the Court for what is commonly called an injunction. There are two orders available that the Family Court has the power to deal with. You can apply for a Non-Molestation Order and/or an Occupation Order.
Who can apply for an Order?
You can apply for either Order against any of the following:
1. Your husband or wife
2. Your civil partner
3. Your former husband or wife
4. Your former civil partner
5. A person you are cohabiting with
6. A person you have previously cohabited with
7. A person you live or have lived in the same household as
8. A relative
9. A person you have agreed to marry or to form a civil partnership with
10. A person you have a child with
11. A person you are having or have had an intimate personal relationship with for a significant duration
12. A person who is a party to the same family proceedings as you
This Order prevents someone from using violence, intimidation, harassment or pestering behaviour against another. It also prevents them from instructing anyone else to behave in this way as well. It can also cover more specific behaviour and prevent any communication whether by email or phone. As well as preventing types of behaviour, an Order can also cover that someone is not to come to a specific property or in a particular area such as the road you live in.
This Order is in relation to any home you share with a person who is abusing you. The Order can cover that person having to move out of the property and suspending their rights to occupy. This Order can be obtained where there is a significant risk of harm to you or your children.
With both a Non-Molestation and Occupation Order a Power of Arrest is attached. This means should the order be breached the police have the power to arrest them. A breach of either of these orders is contempt of court and the Court can send someone to prison for contempt of court.
If you wish to apply for an Injunction in the Family Court this is one of the areas where Legal Aid is available. To be eligible is dependant on your income from all sources. We do offer Legal Aid and we can therefore advise if you are eligible for Legal Aid.
If you require any advice in relation to Domestic Abuse and would like to talk to one of family law experts, please call or email one of our offices and we will be happy to discuss your matter in more detail.