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I am the Victim of Domestic Abuse - What can I do?

View profile for Joanne Druce
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Stuck in an abusive relationship during lockdown?

You are not alone. Although it may feel that now you are trapped more than ever, the options available to you are still the same despite coronavirus, and there are many ways to be able to help you during this very difficult time.

As it stands the courts remain open however measures are being updated on how cases will be considered. There are orders which can be obtained from the family court on an urgent basis, such as a non-molestation order or occupation order, and the courts can make orders to protect and safeguard an individual or child in the home

Our Top Tips:

If your life is in immediate danger, or you feel immediately at risk of harm, you must call the police.

In respect of the legal options you have, we can help you by discussing those available to you. We will also advise you on whether it is appropriate to get an injunction against the abuser, by getting what is called a Non – Molestation Order and / or an Occupation Order

Legal aid may be available in circumstances  involving non molestation orders. One of our specialist legal advisors will be able to discuss this with you.

Please remember that you can still:

  • leave your property to go to a women’s refuge or place of safety
  • call the police for help
  • call us to help you to be safe

To help make it clearer as to what could be considered as domestic abuse we have outlined an example of a scenario that is common place but related this to our current situation whilst we are all in government lockdown. These are fictitious people but the story is all too common.

Sarah's Story

Sarah and Michael are married and have been together in lockdown. Michael’s behaviour has always been an issue with him calling Sarah names, swearing at her.

They are both working from home due to the lockdown and Michael’s behaviour has magnified. He is constantly looking over Sarah’s shoulder at her work emails, listening to her telephone conference calls and is making belittling comments towards her.

Sarah has had enough and asks Michael to give her some space and leaving her to work in her study. However, he picks up her laptop and throws it down the stairs, and when Sarah goes to retrieve it, he stops her in her path and slaps her in the face and punches her in the stomach. He says that she will always need him for money and that he will make sure she will not have a job now as her laptop is smashed to pieces.

What could Sarah do?

Michael has assaulted Sarah so she should phone the police immediately, especially if she feels that his behaviour will continue.

Sarah does not call the police however and Michael apologises to Sarah. After a couple of days, Michael’s behaviour continues to be controlling.

Sarah is fearful Michael will hurt her again. She contacts a domestic violence charity and is able to get a place in a refuge and leaves immediately without telling Michael. However, Michael still has her phone number and she is concerned he may try to track her. She therefore seeks legal advice. Her lawyer prepares a statement for her and they attend the court at get an injunction called a Non – Molestation Order. This will give the police the power to arrest Michael if he breaks the terms of the order, which states that he must not contact Sarah or threaten her or instruct anyone else to do such a thing.

If you need advice you can call us in the strictest of confidence on 01708 333711 or email Harriet Whiteside or Laura Hanford who will be happy to help.

Some additional guidance can be found here:

Gov.uk

Womens Aid

National Helpline

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