The 1996 Family Law ACT protects against domestic violence. Domestic abuse and harassment do not entail prosecution, contacting the police or criminal convictions. There are various solutions available in civil and family courts that protect without resorting to criminal trials.
Royce Legal has an experienced team of solicitors and helps anyone that requires protection (women and children). If you need help recognising whether you are being abused, many organisations can give you confidential advice. Royce Legal can provide you with details of them. There are also many local shelters, and we can aid you to find a place of safety.
What Is Domestic Violence?
In simple terms, domestic violence occurs when one person harms another with whom they have or had a relationship. Men, women and children can all be victims of domestic abuse.
Legally, Domestic Violence is defined as an incident with threatening behaviour, abuse or violence of the psychological, physical, emotional, sexual and financial kind. It is between adults who were once partners or family members, irrespective of sexuality and gender.
In most cases, domestic violence is perpetrated by a partner or ex-partner (in majority cases), but family members and carers are not uncommon either. Domestic abuse also includes the following:
- Psychological and emotional abuse
- Financial and economic abuse
- Harassment and stalking
- Online or digital abuse
- Physical or sexual abuse
- Coercive control
We are aware that domestic violence is not a one-off case. Abusive and controlling behaviour is widespread in our communities. It is a shocking statistic that a partner is assaulted in their home every six seconds in the UK, along with cases of femicide every three days. It is alarming that 16 to 25% of recorded violent crimes account for domestic violence cases.
Children living in abusive houses are at great risk of mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. They are often innocently caught in the crossfire and suffer injury or the worry and fear of the situation cause them emotional harm.
Signs of Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is not only subjected to violence. It can take on many forms. Abuse can be verbal or physical. The following are recognised signs of domestic violence:
Threats: Intimidating behaviour, shouting, breaking things, threatening violence on children or a person with objects.
Harassment: Stalking a person physically, watching them or having them watched, going through their phone and emails and embarrassing and humiliating them in public.
Verbal Abuse: Name-calling, shouting at someone, verbal threats, belittling, character assassination and accusations.
Sexual Violence: Using force, degrading someone intimately and threatening violence that is sexual.
Physical violence: Pinching, kicking, hitting, biting, shoving and punching.
Isolation: Forcing a person to cut off contact with their family and friends. Creating difficulties for a person at their place of employment or with their employer.
Pressurising: Forcing someone to do something by threatening harm to children or themselves, withdrawing financial support, threatening to throw them out of the house, threatening to leak private information to family, friends and work colleagues.
Coercive Controlling Behaviour?
Coercive controlling behaviour is one of the common forms of domestic violence. They are defined as follows:
Incident or a pattern of incidents, threats, humiliations, intimidation, assault and other abuse to frighten, harm and punish the victim.
A variety of deeds are performed to make the victim dependent on the abuser by isolating them from their families and sources of support, exploiting their capabilities and resources for personal gain, depriving them of human independence and escape and regulating their behaviour every day.
Emotional or psychological abuse is a little hard to spot as there is no “physical” evidence on the victim. The abuser plays a game of psychological power to control the victim. In general, emotional abuse is verbal and involves:
- Threats on the victim’s life
- Making the victim believe they are a waste of space
- Controlling the victim in terms of what they wear, say and go
- Ignoring or humiliating the victim.
Legal Options If You Are Affected by Domestic Violence
If you have experienced domestic violence (or are experiencing it), there are several routes you can use. Such as reporting the violence to the police, leaving home (either permanently or temporarily) or asking the abuser to leave the premises. The priority is to ensure your safety, and Royce legal can provide advice on the appropriate steps and measures to take.
Once safety is established, future security should be taken into consideration, and action should be taken accordingly:
- Permanent Separation from your partner
- Actions to protect and keep the abusive partner away from you and your children.
- Protecting your rights to the family home – both in cases of whether you decide to stay or leave the property.
- Ensure contact with children and former spouses or partners.
You can ask the court for:
- A non-molestation order – to stop your partner from threatening or harming you. The police will provide extra protection. If this order is breached, it is a criminal offence, and the person is arrested.
- Occupation order – to get your partner to leave your home and stop them coming back. For extra protection, a power of arrest is added to the order. If it is breached, the police can arrest the partner without a warrant and bring the person into custody.
Domestic Violence Protection Notices
The police can grant you a Domestic Violence Protection Notice. It protects you from your abuser for 48 hours. If the police think you are still in danger, they will apply to the magistrates’ court for a Domestic Violence Protection Order.
Domestic Violence Protection Order
The Domestic Violence Protection Order protects you from any further abuse from your partner. It also bans them from returning to your abode or making any contact with you. If the abuser does not comply with the order, they will be arrested and brought before the court. This order is for 28 days, giving a head away to explore options for your safety and your children.
For further help, contact Royce Legal Solicitors as we are well versed in family law. Whether you need to get your property back, decide the future of your children or terminate your marriage, we are here to help.
Can I press criminal charges against my partner?
Prioritising your safety, the police will ultimately decide whether charges need to be pressed against your partner. The police will also issue warnings and notices for harassment. This record-keeping can help build a case for pressing charges. You can also apply to a family court to stop domestic abuse or get an injunction to stop harassment and violent behaviour towards you and your children.
Can Domestic Abuse be used as grounds for divorce?
Yes. Any form of abusive behaviour, physical or otherwise, is sufficient reason to seek a divorce. If you require legal advice, our family law team will provide a solicitor for support and guidance.
Can I Stop my partner from accessing my children?
If the safety and well-being of your children are at risk, you can legally prevent access to your child by a court order. If you are a victim of domestic abuse, your child is at risk as well. Witnessing domestic abuse is a traumatic experience and emotionally damaging to children. It is legally defined as “significant harm” to children.
Practical Tips If You Are Victim of Domestic Abuse
- Our solicitors keep your safety as their priority. If there is a concern for immediate safety, the police should be involved.
- If you have sustained injuries, report them to the GP or local hospital. It counts as independent evidence of domestic abuse and can strengthen your case.
- Maintain a record of relevant events (history of abuse) to support your court application.
- Keep a get-away bag with money if you have to leave in a hurry.
- Keep your mobile charged or have a telephone available to maintain contacts with friends, family and emergency services.