What is Domestic Abuse?
Domestic abuse is any incident (or series of incidents) of actual or threatened violence or coercive or controlling behaviour between people aged over 16 years who are in an intimate relationship, or members of the same family. Gender has no bearing on whether the actions or behaviour are considered domestic abuse.
Types of abuse may include:
What is meant by coercion and control?
In December 2015, the government made acts of coercion and control a statutory criminal offence under the Serious Crime Act 2015 (the 2015 Act).
Controlling behaviour can include:
- making another person subordinate to or dependent on them by isolating them from friends, family and other support
- taking advantage of a person’s resources and capacities for personal gain
- depriving someone of their freedom
- directing the everyday behaviour of another person
Coercion includes acts of violent threats and actual assault, humiliation, and intimidation used to instil fear or to harm or punish another person.
For the law to apply, there must have been a ‘purposeful pattern’ of coercion and control, which has taken place over time, as distinct from a one-off behaviour.
What protection is available to those impacted by domestic violence?
If you are a victim of domestic violence and in immediate danger, contact the police on 999.
If you are not in immediate danger, we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible. We understand that in cases of domestic violence, those affected are often frightened to seek professional assistance, because of fear of inflaming the situation even further. By speaking to us, you can be assured that your safety and security, and that of your children, is our absolute priority, and will firstly assist you to ensure this is in place. There are a range of legal protections available to you, and we can help you seek these as quickly as possible, in a manner that respects your situation and needs. The two main legal protections available for those affected by domestic violence are Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPOs) and Domestic Violence Protection Notices (DVPNs). These work as follows:
- Step 1 – DVPN: Following an incident of domestic violence, if there is an ongoing threat to the victim, the police can issue a DVPN on the perpetrator. This is an emergency non-molestation and eviction notice. This provides immediate protection by stopping him/her from entering or being within a certain distance of your home, stopping him/her from making you leave or excluding you from your home, and requiring him/her to leave your home.
- Step 2 – DVPO: Within 48 hours of the DVPN being served on the perpetrator, an application for a DVPO is made to the courts. Until the court has made a decision, the DVPN stays in place to protect the victim. When granted, DVPOs last for 14 days to 28 days – depending on the decision of the court. If the perpetrator breaches the order, they may be arrested and kept in custody. Within 24-hours after arrest, they will be put before a Magistrates’ Court and could be fined up to £5,000 and/or sent to prison for up to 2 months.
How RVS Solicitors can assist you with obtaining protection from domestic violence
Our team has years of experience in handling domestic violence issues, and we can put you in touch with support agencies and counselling services to help you regain your strength and feel in control of your life. In addition, we can assist you with seeking a divorce or separation from your abusive partner once you and your children are safe.
At RVS Solicitors, we work much more collaboratively with our clients than a traditional law firm and seek a non-confrontational approach to resolving disputes wherever possible. By instructing us, you can be assured that we take a considerable interest in the needs of you and your children. We value the trusted relationship we develop with our clients, and in turn, they feel supported and confident that their matter is in the best hands.
Our experience of representing clients in complex family matters, allied to our relationships with some of the top family barristers in the UK, means you can relax in the knowledge that no stone will be left unturned in the pursuit of the best outcome for you and your children so you can move on to a brighter future, free from fear and harm.