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Partner and Head of Family Law, Rugby
Domestic violence is unfortunately becoming increasingly common within England and Wales but thankfully measures are already in place to protect vulnerable spouses, partners and others affected.
BBC News announced this morning that a new programme is being released, aimed at changing the mind set of violent offenders. The scheme is intended to provide one-to-one sessions for the most dangerous individuals, which will include support to tackle alcohol, drug or mental health problems, unlike other schemes currently in place.
I’m not normally a fan of statistical analysis but the numbers in relation to Court applications for cases involving domestic violence are staggering. In the Birmingham Family and County Courts, statistics from the Ministry of Justice show an increase of 300% in the number of Non-Molestation Order applications being made between 2012 and 2014. Data for the Midlands paints a similar picture, with the number of applications increasing from approximately 600 at the beginning of 2012 to nearly 1,200 at the beginning of 2014.
What protection is there?
If you are a victim of domestic violence, there is help available. First and foremost, you should always contact the police if there is an immediate threat of violence. If there has been an incident(s) of domestic violence in the past and you are concerned for your safety, the police can apply for Domestic Violence Protection Notices and Orders which prevent further violence. These are short term notices and orders that are intended to protect victims.
You can also apply for a Non-Molestation Order or an Occupation Order through the Family Court. These types of orders prevent the aggressor from contacting the victim directly, or via a third party and in some extreme cases, can order that the aggressor not be permitted to come within a certain distance of the victim’s property, even if jointly owned with the aggressor. They tend to be for longer periods of time than the police notices and orders and are therefore a more long-term form of protection.
If a Non-Molestation Order or Occupation Order is ignored by the aggressor, there are serious consequences that can be applied, such as prison sentences, fines or both.
Domestic Violence comes in many forms and may not necessarily manifest itself in physical violence. Our in-house counsellor Liz Headley covers the various forms of domestic violence in her recent blog.
If you are a victim of domestic violence and are seeking advice about protecting yourself from future violence, please contact one of our family law experts on 01295 270999 (Banbury Office) 01869 252 161 (Bicester Office) 01788 579 579 (Rugby Office).