What is domestic abuse and domestic violence?

The government has defined domestic abuse and domestic violence in a broad sense and can take many forms:

‘any incident, or pattern of incidents, of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (whether psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between individuals who are associated with each other’
  • Physical abuse

  • Sexual abuse

  • Psychological abuse

  • Harassment

  • Intimidation

  • Threat of physical or sexual abuse

Edwards Duthie Shamash makes a special commitment to victims of domestic abuse and domestic violence.  We look to support you, advise you and assist you and explore all possible options with you.

We recognise that clients can often require support over a period of time and have somewhere to turn to if circumstances should deteriorate in the home.  As such even if you decide that you do not wish others to take any initial action immediately we commit to keeping your file open for a minimum period of two months to keep you under observation and provide you with further best advice and assistance as and when it may be required.


How can we help?

When advising on domestic abuse and domestic violence, there are several options to consider when looking to offer protection:

  • The writing of a warning letter

  • Contacting the police

  • Injunctions / Non-Molestation Orders and Occupation Orders – Application for protection under Family Law Act 1996

  • Advice and support from a domestic abuse charity

What is a warning letter?

Writing a warning letter in which someone is warned to stop their current behaviour can often resolve the issue.  In our warning letters, we advise the perpetrator that if they contact you or continue their current behaviour patterns following receipt of the letter we will consider an application for an injunction / non-molestation order.

Contacting the police

Domestic assaults are criminal offences and as such, the perpetrator can be prosecuted for their actions.

The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 introduced strong measures to assist those who are victims of a course of conduct, which amounts to harassment, and thus are committing a crime.

It will be up to the police to decide whether and how far they wish to investigate a complaint.  It is then a decision for the Crown Prosecution Service whether charges shall be brought.  It is the crown who shall ‘press charges’ and not the individual.  This lack of control can act as a disincentive to victims as there is no guarantee that their report will result in action and can have consequences for themselves from the perpetrator.

If the perpetrator is charged then the police can place bail conditions on them, which may act to protect you whilst the matter comes to Court.

Sometimes though, a call to the police may not be enough.

Injunctions / Non-Molestation Orders and Occupation Orders:

  • An injunction / non-molestation order is an order of the court that stops someone from doing something, such as threatening violence or being violent.
  • An occupation order is an order of the court that stops someone coming to the home or requires them to leave the home.

We can apply for injunctions / non-molestation orders or occupation orders on your behalf.  We will prepare the application to court, we will prepare your statement of evidence, we will gather together the evidence to support your case and we will represent you at court.

Further information and support services

Whilst those who have experienced domestic abuse and domestic violence require us to make applications for injunctions / non-molestation orders or occupation orders, our clients often require assistance from other support services.  We have been present in the area for a number of years and can assist in making referrals for you to access support services.  We also have a specialist housing advice service who can assist with any of your housing problems.

  • Urgent / emergency action:

    Sometimes the abuse or violence is so serious, it will be necessary for us to act for you very quickly to protect you.  We can assist by seeing you very quickly and making emergency applications to court to protect you.

  • Legal aid:

    We have a contract with the Legal Aid Agency and we can provide legal aid to represent you.  When we meet with you we can explore whether you qualify for legal aid.  If legal aid is not available, we can explore other ways to fund your case.

If the situation is serious, and you or the children are in immediate danger, you should contact your local police station immediately and explain the situation and seek their assistance.

The police are under an obligation to treat domestic violence and abuse seriously and cannot simply dismiss the matter as a “domestic incident”.

Call us now on 020 8514 9000 to speak in confidence with one of our employment lawyers.

“Edwards Duthie Shamash Solicitors,
your Legal experts, always here to help”