Domestic Abuse Solicitors

At VM Family Law, we are domestic Abuse Solicitors and are here to listen, understand and guide you to ensure the best and safest outcomes, in and out of court. All survivors of domestic abuse should get the support they need to continue with their lives after the impact of domestic abuse.

If you are experiencing domestic abuse and need immediate support, please contact, or the 24 hour national domestic abuse helpline on 0808 200247. If you are in immediate danger, please contact the police on 999.

What is classed as domestic abuse?

There are many forms of domestic abuse; physical, mental, sexual, psychological, financial and emotional. Abuse can include anything that leaves you feeling traumatised, manipulated or controlled. 

Coercive control is “an act or pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation, intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish or frighten their victim.  

This controlling behaviour is designed to make a person dependent by isolating them from support, exploiting them, depriving them of their independence and regulating their everyday behaviour”

The legal definition of domestic abuse is defined in the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 as “the behaviour of a person towards another person if the people are aged 16 or over and are personally connected to each other and the behaviour is abusive”’.

What does protection from domestic abuse mean?

There are various remedies available to protect you and your children from domestic abuse both under the criminal law and from the Family Court:

Restraining Orders – The Domestic Violence Crime and Victims Act 2004 gave the court the power to make a restraining order after a person has been convicted or acquitted of an offence if the court thinks it necessary to protect the person from harassment.

Police Information Notices (PINs) or Harassment Warning Notices – The police may issue these notices where there are allegations of harassment.

Domestic Violence Protection Notices – These can be issued by the police to provide emergency protection. Once issued, the case must be heard by the court within 48 hours. 

Domestic Violence Protection Orders – Following the application by the police, within 48 hours of giving the Domestic Violence Protection Notice, the Magistrates Court can make a Domestic Violence Protection Order.

Non-Molestation Orders – These can be made by the Family Court by virtue of the Family Law Act 1996.

Occupation Orders – These can also be made by the Family Court by virtue of the Family Law Act 1996.

The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 – This provides many new ways to help victims and their families. For example, it places a duty on local authorities in England to provide support services to victims of domestic abuse and their children in refuges and other safe accommodation, and to give priority housing to anyone made homeless as a result of domestic abuse. 

Extent of Domestic Abuse

It’s estimated that 2.3 million adults aged between 16-74 have experienced domestic violence in the past year. 

What can I do to protect myself?

If you find yourself in this situation, but are not yet ready to report it to the police or seek legal advice, then there are certain protective measures you can do yourself:

  • Keep a record of the other person’s behaviour and be mindful to keep it in a safe place.
  • Confide in friends, family or neighbours to make them aware of your situation.
  • Don’t accept friend requests on social media platforms; this could be a way of tracking you.
  • Speak to your GP; your GP may be able to refer you for professional support.
  • Seek advice from other professionals, such as Women’s Aid.
  • Keep your mobile phone with you at all times and fully charged.
  • Keep money and essential items available at home in the event you need to leave in urgent circumstances.

Can you divorce a partner on the grounds of domestic abuse?

The divorce laws changed in April 2022 in England and Wales and there is now no requirement to explain to the court the circumstances of how and why your marriage has irretrievably broken down.

The new law enables people to file for divorce on a ‘no fault’ basis. As no blame needs to be placed on the spouse, this means that they may be more willing to cooperate with the divorce.

How Domestic Abuse Solicitors can help

At VM Family Law, a domestic abuse solicitor can advise and assist with the options available to you.

If appropriate, we can send a warning letter to the other party warning them of the consequences should domestic abuse and harassment continue. 

If your case is more urgent, we can apply to the family court for an order to protect you and if necessary, your children.

Non Molestation Orders

A Non Molestation Order protects you and, if appropriate, your children from abuse, violence, threats, intimation and harassment. For example, this order can prevent:

  • The other party from contacting you or attending your home or place of work.
  • The other party from contacting friends and family in the attempt to get a message to you.
  • The other party from posting any imagery or content of you on social platforms.
  • The other party from damaging your property.

If a Non Molestation Order is breached, it is a criminal offence and should be reported to the police immediately. 

If you need help or advice on how to obtain a Non Molestation Order, then speak to a member of our team at VM Family Law, as these orders can be obtained quickly if you are at risk of significant harm.

Without Notice Orders

A Without Notice Order is an order that can be made without giving notice to the other party. If there is a risk of imminent danger or harm to you or your children, a Without Notice Order can be issued by the Family Court which will then need to be served on the perpetrator.

Before inviting the courts to make a Without Notice Order, speak to a team member to discuss if you have the grounds to make this application.

Occupation Orders

If you live or have lived in the household of the other party, you can apply for an Occupation Order. It doesn’t require you to be a joint tenant or owner of the property. 

An Occupation Order can require the other party to leave the property, restrict entry, or come within a stipulated distance. The court can also require the other party to pay the mortgage or rent and household expenses.

Domestic violence and children

In cases where children have been subjected to domestic abuse themselves, parents/carers should take every measure to ensure the child’s safety and seek help as soon as possible by contacting the police, or seeking advice from Children’s Services and a legal representative.

If children are not directly affected by the abuse, they can still be harmed by it.  Children witnessing domestic abuse can suffer significant harm, which can result in behavioural or cognitive problems. Parents have a duty to protect children from harm.

When determining the living arrangements and contact arrangements for children, the court will ensure the safety and well-being of the children. In some cases, the court may even decide the abuser has no contact with the children at all.

VM Family Law can help

At VM Family Law, we can help to work with you towards the actions needed to keep you safe. We can advise which orders would best suit your case and provide support and legal advice when necessary. We can also assist you with finding appropriate other professionals to support you, such as counsellors and therapists.

We will guide you through every step of the way, listen to what you want to achieve, how you want matters handled and provide the best possible approach.

Speak to a member of our friendly team or book a free appointment of up to 1-hour. We will be more than happy to help and advise you, or provide alternative help more suitable to your circumstances.

Our goal is to help our clients solve their family legal matters as smoothly as possible.

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Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority – VM Family Law Ltd - No. 809780

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