What is domestic abuse and domestic violence?
The government has defined domestic abuse and domestic violence in a broad sense:
‘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’
It can take many forms and might include the following:
- Physical Abuse
- Psychological Abuse
- Sexual Abuse
- Threat of physical or sexual abuse
Edwards Duthie Shamash makes a special commitment to those who have suffered domestic abuse and domestic violence. We look to support, advise and assist you as to how to stop it from happening.
We recognise that clients can often require support and need 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 three 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 protection:
- The writing of a warning letter
- Contacting the police
- Injunctions / Non-Molestation Orders and Occupation Orders – Applications for protection under Family Law Act 1996
- Advice and support from a domestic abuse charity
- Referral to a refuge/place of safety
What is a warning letter?
Writing a warning letter in which the perpetrator is warned to stop his or her 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; the police can prosecute the perpetrator. There are strong measures to assist those who are victims from the perpetrator.
It will be up to the police to decide whether and how far they wish to investigate a complaint. It is a decision for the Crown Prosecution Service whether charges shall be brought against the perpetrator.
If the perpetrator is charged then the police may place bail conditions on them, which may act to protect you whilst the matter comes to court.
If there are no bail conditions in place or if the police do not take action against the perpetrator, we can consider applying to the court for an injunction order.
An injunction / non-molestation order is an order of the court against the perpetrator. There is an automatic power of arrest attached to this order. If the perpetrator breaches the order, the victim can call the police.
An occupation order is an order of the court that stops someone coming to the home or requires him or her 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 and your statement of evidence so that your case is as strong as it possibly can be. We will gather the evidence to support your case and we will represent you at court.
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 several 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.
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 by making emergency applications to court to protect you.
We have a contract with the Legal Aid Agency and can provide legal aid 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.