Domestic Violence & Abuse Solicitors
At NJP Solicitors we have a team of family solicitors who can assist in getting injunctions or advise on protecting you and your family. We can help wherever you are based and can meet via video conference if required.
If you are the victim of domestic abuse you do not have to suffer in silence.
Domestic abuse (or domestic violence, as it is often referred to) is sadly all too common an occurrence. But there is no need for anyone to suffer continued abuse at the hands of their partner. The law provides a number of ways that a victim of abuse can seek protection.
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Domestic abuse may amount to criminal behaviour, in which case an abuser may be charged with a criminal offence. Such matters require the involvement of the police, but a victim can themselves apply to a court for a protective order.
There are two main types of order that can be applied for: non-molestation orders and occupation orders. These are often referred to as ‘injunctions’, and both types of order are often made together.
What is domestic abuse?
Before we look at injunctions we should first consider what exactly domestic abuse is.
It might seem like a question to which the answer is obvious, but domestic abuse encompasses more types of behaviour than many people realise.
The government’s Domestic Abuse Bill, which is currently passing through parliament, will include the first statutory government definition of domestic abuse. The definition will state that behaviour is abusive if it consists of physical or sexual abuse; violent or threatening behaviour; controlling or coercive behaviour; economic abuse; or psychological, emotional or other abuse.
‘Economic abuse’ means any behaviour that has a substantial adverse effect on the victim’s ability to acquire, use or maintain money or other property, or obtain goods or services.
A non-molestation order is an order prohibiting an abuser from doing anything prohibited by the order, for example threatening or inflicting violence.
In deciding whether to make a non-molestation order and, if so, in what form, the court will have regard to all the circumstances including the need to secure the health, safety and well-being of the applicant and of any relevant child.
A non-molestation order may be made for a specified period, or until further order.
An occupation order deals with who lives at the family home. An occupation order can do a number of things, including ordering an abuser to move out of the home, or to stay away from the home; ordering an abuser to keep a certain distance away from the home; ordering an abuser to stay in certain parts of the home at certain times; and ordering an abuser who has forced a victim out of the home to allow the victim back into the home.
In deciding whether to grant an occupation order the court will consider all of the circumstances of the case, including the housing needs and resources of both parties and any children; the financial resources of both parties; the likely effect any order, or not making an order, will have on the parties and any children; and the conduct of the parties in relation to each other.
The court may also look at the harm that the victim and any children might suffer if the order is not granted and the harm that the abuser and any children might suffer if it is.
The exact type of occupation order that can be applied for, how long the order will last, and the factors the court will consider depend on the parties’ legal entitlement to the home.
Procedure and urgent applications
Legal aid is available for injunction proceedings, seek legal advice about obtaining a protective order. Urgent applications can be made same day by the court.
A non-molestation order can be enforced by reporting the abuser’s behaviour to the police. Breach of an order is a criminal offence.
An occupation order will usually have a power of arrest attached to it, in which case a police officer may arrest the abuser for breach of the order, and have him taken before the court to be punished. If the order does not have a power of arrest then the victim can still apply to the court that made the order to have the abuser arrested and/or punished, as with a non-molestation order.
We can advise you on the most appropriate order to obtain and make the application to the court on your behalf.