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What do I need to know about the various forms of Domestic Abuse?
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, there are various forms besides being physically abused and these include:
- Emotional abuse
- Mental torture
- Marital rape
- Economic abuse
- Online abuse
- Coercive abuse
- Bride burning
- Honour killing
- Threats and intimidation
- Sexual abuse
Hence, domestic violence doesn’t always have to involve physical abuse, it can take multiple forms and you should carefully look for the following major signs of domestic abuse.
- Being forcefully isolated from your friends and family
- Having acid burns, bruises, bite marks, etc
- Victim of a Controlling behaviour
- Locked in a house or a facility and prevented from leaving the house or going to work, etc
- Your social media or internet activity is being monitored, privacy violation by reading your texts, emails or letters
- Being verbally abused and bullied of being worthless and devalued
Domestic Abuse helplines and services
How victims of domestic abuse can get help under the UK Family Law
Luckily in the United Kingdom, there are several helplines and support services all across the four states of the UK. These services operate 24 hours, namely:
- England: Refuge’s National Domestic Abuse Helpline
- NorthernIsland: Domestic and Sexual Abuse Helpline
- Scotland: Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline
- Wales: Live Fear Free
- Nationwide (support available all across UK) Men’s Advice Line
- Bright Sky mobile app
- Women’s aid
- Safe Spaces
- Domestic abuse perpetrators programme
- Cafcass family court advisors
Domestic Abuse Act/bill UK (2021-2022)
What is a Domestic Abuse Bill UK, and how it can safeguard the victims of domestic violence
Passed in July 2020, the Domestic Abuse Bill ( a.k.a Domestic Bill Act 2021) is going to be implemented in 2021/2022 all across the UK.
The domestic bill UK is a legislative act to bring perpetrators (domestic abuse offenders) to justice while protecting the victims of domestic abuse.
Furthermore, the bill will introduce the following provisions in the family law courts:
- Domestic Abuse Protection Order and Domestic abuse Protection Notice
- Order Local authorities in England to provide safe accommodation to the victims and their children
- Emphasise the ‘statutory meaning’ of domestic violence as not just physical abuse but also includes emotional, economic, coercive or controlling threats or aggression
- In the criminal, civil and family court proceedings (England and Wales), the act will introduce statutory presumption with special measures that the victims of domestic violence will be eligible to
- Disallow the perpetrators (convicted or charged with an offence) from cross-examination their victims in person in both family and civil courts. Accordingly, the court-appointed legal representative will be conducting the cross-examination instead
- Create a new offence of suffocation or non-fatal strangulation of another person ( partner or child)
- Extend the extraterritorial jurisdiction of the criminal courts all across the UK (England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) to address the violent and sexual offences
- Introduce a statutory domestic abuse perpetrator strategy
- Clarify and Restate the statute law with the general proposition that the party( offender) may not consent to the infliction of severe harm and, by extension, will not consent to their own death
- Automatic eligibility to all ‘homeless victims’ of domestic abuse for homelessness assistance on a priority basis
- Enable a polygraph testing for the domestic abuse offenders ( as a condition of licence) after their release from the custody
- Grant of a new secure tenancy through an occupation order ( which regulates who is to stay in the property and prevents offenders from entering the victim’s property)
- Ban GPs and other healthcare professionals from charging the domestic abuse victims for a provision of legal aid application letter
Under the Domestic abuse act, the court will be given a responsibility to consider the following:
- In case of the Victim’s participation or absence of evidence in the court proceedings is linked to the vulnerability factor, allow additional participation through ‘ special measures’ to support them
- The court must also consider other matters in this context( overrule the definition of vulnerability), including the victim’s age, mental disabilities, or other associated anomalies
How can I check if someone has an Abusive Past?
If you suspect that either your ex, current or potential partner has a past of domestic violence, you can always seek help to assess their ‘abusive past’ under the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme ( a.k.a ‘Clare’s Law’).
The law implies’ right to ask’ to navigate any records of conviction, domestic abuse and if the information is proportionate, necessary or legit, the police will disclose any essential findings. Moreover, you can even apply for the disclosure and get help on behalf of your family members or friends who are victims of domestic abuse.
You can get assistance from the support services and agencies to draw out the information on your behalf.
How to get a court order to safeguard me and my child from Domestic Abuse
Protect yourself or your child through Non-Molestation or occupation order
If you and your child are a victim of domestic abuse from either of the following members
- Your current or previous partner
- A family member
- Someone you currently or previously lived with (ex-spouse)
You can apply for an occupation order if you are looking for a safe refuge/accommodation. Apply for the molestation order if you ( if applicable, your child/children) are looking for protection from the harms of following domestic abuse:
- Pestering/ intimidation
Anyone breaching or violating the non-molestation order is subjected to 5-years of imprisonment. The victims can apply for legal aid to proceed with the applications involving the above charges in family and children court.
Remember: It is essential to keep in mind how you will serve the order. If you don’t want to directly pass the notice to the respondent ( the offender), you can get help from a ‘court staff’ and ask for the certificate of service to deliver it to the respondent. The injunction can only proceed when the order is served on the respondent.
In addition to this, ensure to deliver a copy of the order to the local police station with a statement of confirmation that the domestic abuse offender has been served with a court order. Likewise, you must also serve the copy of the occupation order on the mortgage or landlord of any related or shared property.
Who is eligible to apply for an Occupation Order?
Apply for an Occupation Order if:
- You share the family home/property as part of the marital assets ( through beneficial estate/interest/ tenant contract) or,
- You have home rights that entitle you to residency ( dwelling house which is also occupied by the spouse who is charged with the domestic offence)
- If the residential property or the ‘dwelling house’ is/has also been the home of the person entitled and of another person your spouse is associated with or,
- At any time, intended by such other person which entitled them to have property rights
- If you own or rent a home shared with your spouse/civil partner, cohabitant / family member or a person who has an intimate relationship with and who is also a parent of your child / children ( if applicable)
- Even if you don’t own/rent a housing property but are married / cohabitating with the one who is entitled to the home as an owner or tenant
In a nutshell, when you are sharing the marital assets with your former / current partner, you can apply for the occupation order to safeguard yourself and your child / children, if any and claim for safe accommodation.
How can Domestic Abuse Solicitors at Axis help
Depending on your circumstances, our family law specialists can guide you every step of the way and can expedite the court proceedings to ensure you receive maximum protection against domestic violence from your threatening partner.
If you are suffering from financial constraints and are still dependent on your partner for money and property, our experts will offer their best possible consultancy to ensure your economic right are well served.
We can further guide and support you on how to go about applying for the occupation order and what evidence you should be attaching with the application.
Furthermore, if you are alleged to be a domestic abuse offender, the law can protect those potential ex-partners wrongfully accused. For further guidance and immediate consultancy on domestic abuse services, and court orders, contact our expert Family law solicitors via a call at 0800 048 7573.