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Domestic Abuse FAQ

This article appeared in the Mercury newspaper on 22nd September 2010.

Linsey Duggan answers question on domestic abuse and domestic violence and discusses the legal remedies available to victims.


What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence is when one person inflicts aggressive or abusive behaviour on another person who they are married to, cohabiting with, a relative of or a parent of the same child with.

The most common forms of domestic abuse include:

  • Violence & physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Intimidation
  • Threats (against you or your children)
  • Harassment
  • Emotional & verbal abuse (calling you names, humiliation, playing mind games)

I am being abused by my partner. How can the law help me?

A family lawyer can help you to seekdomestic abuse protection from any of the above forms of abuse.† You can take out an injunction against the perpetrator of the abuse. This can be done very quickly and in emergency situations, even the same day without notice to the other party.

An injunction is the term used to describe the order that can be made by the courts to provide you with protection and stop someone from doing a particular act. For example, an injunction can be made which prevents someone from coming within a specified distance of you or your home. If an injunction is breached there can be serious legal consequences, such as arrest and imprisonment.

There are two main types of Orders available that the Court can make. A non-molestation order prevents a person from carrying out unreasonable behaviour that they may have been inflicted upon you or your children. This can prohibit the abuser from telephoning you, texting you, or trying to contact you in any other way either directly or indirectly.

An occupation order instructs the abuser to leave your home and can prevent the abuser from coming within a specified distance of the property e.g. 100 metres. Your partner can be forcibly removed from your home by the police if they refuse to leave.

I need a solicitor, but canít afford to pay. Can I get legal aid?

Legal aid is always available to help with obtaining injunctions for domestic abuse. If you need help, contact me in confidence on 0114 276 6166.

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