Domestic violence and abuse can take many forms, including not just physical violence but also controlling and coercive behaviour, such as depriving the victim of financial support, restricting their independence, threatening or humiliating them.

What can you do if you are the victim of domestic violence or abuse?

Firstly you can report the matter to the police. The police should investigate the matter and can arrest, caution or charge the perpetrator. The police can also issue a Domestic Violence Protection Notice and then apply to the magistrates’ court for a Domestic Violence Protection Order, which can protect you from further abuse, and if you live with the perpetrator, ban them from returning to the home and contacting you. If the perpetrator does not keep to the Order, they can be arrested and brought before the court. A Domestic Violence Protection Order lasts for up to 28 days

You can also seek a court order against the perpetrator yourself. There are two types of court order that you can seek: a non-molestation order and an occupation order (both also known as ‘injunctions’). The non-molestation order prohibits the other party from molesting, harassing or pestering you, and the occupation order requires the other party to vacate or stay away from your home. There is no fixed length for a non-molestation order, but the court may not be able to make an occupation order that lasts for more than six months. In the case of either type of order, if the other party should breach the order then they may be committed to prison (breach of a non-molestation order is a criminal offence). Legal aid is available in connection with applying for these orders, subject to eligibility.

If you would like more information regarding protecting yourself from domestic violence and abuse, or if you would like to apply for an order, Family Law Café can help. To contact us click the Contact link above and fill in the form, or call us on 020 3904 0506.

Image: Domestic Violence by CMY Kane, licensed under CC BY 2.0.