When a relationship breaks down, seeking legal advice can be a difficult step to take but where domestic violence is involved, you must act quickly and decisively.
If you are feeling threatened or abused in any way, please call our specialists in this area on 01689 822554.
If you have been attacked and need immediate help, you should take the following steps:
- Call the Police on 999
- Find a safe retreat for you and your children
- Call your doctor for medical help
- Call Women’s Aid on 0808 2000 247
What is Domestic Violence
It is when one person within an intimate relationship tries to control the other person by means of aggressive behaviour. It can start at any time, in any kind of relationship regardless of age, race, class, sexuality or lifestyle. It can come in many forms including physical, sexual, psychological, emotional, financial or social. You are often made to feel that it is all your fault.
If it is not stopped the following could happen:
- The situation will get worse
- You could be seriously injured or worse
- You could lose your confidence and self respect
- You could lose your job
- You could lose your home
- You could lose your children
Individuals who cause their partners severe psychological harm through emotional bullying could face five years in jail. The new law, which came into effect on 29th December 2015, will criminalise behaviour that is abusive, controlling or coercive. It will include preventing access to bank accounts, non-payment of child allowances and confiscating passports and car keys. It will also increase the time limit in bringing domestic violence prosecutions. Crimes had to be reported within six months but victims will now have two years.
The CPS can prosecute specific offences of domestic abuse if there is evidence of repeated, or continuous, coercive behaviour, with DPP Alison Saunders saying such behaviour “can be incredibly harmful, even if it might seem playful, innocuous or loving.”
What you must do
If you are experiencing domestic violence you should:
- Prepare to leave the home as soon as you can. There are many organisations who will be able to help you.
- See your doctor whilst you still have physical signs of any injury given to you by your partner.
- Speak to the Police who have great experience in helping people suffering domestic violence.
- Keep a detailed record of what happened, when and where.
- You must get legal help. Call us on 01689 822554 and we will arrange an immediate meeting. We will also be able to advise if you can apply for Legal Aid.
- Other useful telephone numbers: Bromley Domestic Violence Co-ordinator: 0208 313 4290 – Bromley Domestic Abuse textline : 07963 479602
What can Thomas Dunton do?
We can apply for a Court Order to protect you and, if appropriate, your children. There are basically two types of Court Orders:
- Non-Molestation Order – this defines how you and your partner, or former partner, behaves in future. This restrains a person from using or threatening violence, or molesting a person or child.
- Occupation Orders – this defines who has the right to live in the home, to protect an abused party and the children. If the Court grants this order it will grant the Non-Molestation Order with it.
If the abuser ignores these Court orders they can be arrested and, if found guilty, receive up to five years’ imprisonment.
Why use a Solicitor?
We would always recommend that if you are being subjected to domestic violence, you call the Police. However by working with a Solicitor through the Civil Courts rather than a Criminal Court, a Court Order may be obtained more quickly and less stressfully. This is because a Civil Court will decide the evidence “on balance” whereas in a Criminal Court the facts have to be proven beyond reasonable doubt. Also in a Civil Court, unlike a Criminal Court, you may be represented by a Solicitor and your evidence can be a written statement prepared by us.