For the last month people everywhere have been engrossed in the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard defamation trial, as the two Hollywood stars have played out their private lives in front of the world’s media.
But whilst the trial may have fed the public’s hunger for salacious details of the lives of the rich and famous, there are serious lessons to be learned.
One such lesson comes from the allegations against Amber Heard. The issue between Depp and Heard began with the suggestion that Heard had been the victim of abuse at the hands of Depp. However, in the course of the trial allegations have been made suggesting that Heard may have herself been an abuser in the relationship.
Now, we do not wish to make any comment upon the truth of the allegations by either party – that is of course for the court to decide – but the fact that Heard may or may not have been the ‘innocent’ victim of abuse does illustrate that not all abuse victims are ‘perfect’.
When abuse occurs in a household it is of course quite possible that both parties may behave in an abusive manner, to a greater or lesser extent. A victim may, for example, respond by themselves being abusive towards their abuser, whether orally or physically. But that does not necessarily mean that they are no longer a victim.
However, the knowledge that their abuser may make counter-allegations against them in court, some of which may be true, could of course deter a victim of abuse from seeking the protection of the law, because they believe that the court will not help them if allegations against them are found to be true.
But a victim should not be deterred. If they need protection, they should seek it – no one should suffer abuse, whatever the situation. The court will understand that not all abuse victims are themselves entirely ‘innocent’, and will still offer its protection to an ‘imperfect victim’.
A victim of domestic abuse can ask a family court for whatever protection they need, including a ‘non-molestation’ order prohibiting their abuser from molesting or harassing them, and an ‘occupation’ order, which could, for example, require the abuser to leave the family home.
If you are a victim of domestic abuse it is essential that you are not put off from seeking the protection of the court. You should seek expert legal advice, at the earliest possible stage. We can find you an expert that works with you on our digital platform. For more information, call us on 020 3904 0506, or click here, and fill in the form.
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