Domestic Violence & Injunctions – Family Law Act 1996 – Solicitors Firm

what it covers

Domestic violence is a pattern of controlling and aggressive behaviour from one adult, towards another, within the context of an intimate or family relationship. There is no single act that qualifies as domestic violence. It can be extreme or subtle; The victim may have been putting up with this behaviour for years, or it may have been triggered recently by some event in the violent persons life. The law surrounding Domestic Violence is governed by the Family Law Act 1996. Domestic Violence can be:

  • physical, sexual, psychological or emotional abuse
  • financial abuse and social isolation
  • actual or threatened and can happen once every so often or on a regular basis.
  • It can happen to anyone, and in all kinds of relationships – heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. People suffer domestic violence regardless of their social group, class, age, race, disability, sexuality or lifestyle. The abuse can begin at any time – in new relationships or after many years spent together.
  • domestic violence can affect children, both in the short and the long term; In some cases the children may be the victims of the violence themselves.
  • It is not restricted to women and children; men too are abused by their partners, both male and female.
  • All forms of abuse – psychological, economic, emotional and physical are hurtful and frightening, each in it’s own way.

It is a sad reality that many people put up with domestic violence, often for years on end. Most victims of domestic violence tend to suffer in silence, either because they are ashamed or frightened of the consequences of seeking help. Some people justify the reasons why their partner is abusing them and only seek help and protection after some trigger event, like the straw that broke the camels back!

No matter what the reasons are for the abuse, it is unacceptable behaviour and the courts will simply not tolerate it.

All too often the abuse is accompanied by threats against the victim, especially threatening further and harsher abuse if the victim tries to seek professional help or call the police.

No matter what type of abuse you are suffering and no matter how frightened you may be, don’t despair! The law is quite clear on the subject of domestic violence and it is there to protect you. Despite the abusers threats, the law will stand firmly to protect the rights of the abused partner, with potentially dire consequences for the abuser. There is frankly no reason at all to continue to suffer in silence.

We have represented hundreds of people, on the receiving end of domestic violence and are experienced in dealing with traumatised clients who are often terrified of their partners. We can act very quickly to protect you, often presenting urgent cases in court within hours of having been first approached by our clients.

We are sympathetic, understanding and very approachable. Your circumstances will always be handled in the strictest confidence. If you are unsure about what rights you have or how best to protect yourself, contact us or email us for quick, effective and confidential advice.

what can the court do for me

we can assist you in obtaining a non-molestation injunction from the court, providing you with immediate protection. it may also be possible for the court to provide you with the protection of an occupation order

Facts and Figures about Domestic Violence

There is no reason to be ashamed or frightened of seeking professional help if you are the victim of domestic violence. Sadly it is an all too real part of the society we live in. It can affect the wealthy or the poor, black or white, straight or gay and the victims can be men or women. Just look at the facts and judge for yourself:

  • 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men will experience domestic violence over their lifetimes. (Council of Europe 2002; BMA 1998; Home Office Research Study 1999)
  • Domestic Violence accounts for at least 16% of all violent crime, and has more repeat victims than any other crime. (Home Office 2005)
  • On average there will be 35 ‘hits’ before a victim calls the police. (Home Office 2005)
  • It is estimated that domestic violence costs more than £23 billion a year through suffering, time off work and services such as health and criminal justice. (Home Office 2005)
  • An average of 2 women each week were killed by current or former partners in England in Wales in the year 2000/1. (Home Office 2001)
  • It’s estimated that police receive a call from a victim of domestic violence every minute.
  • Men find it much harder to seek help as victims of domestic violence, often because they are ashamed, or they think nobody will believe them.
  • Domestic violence incidents make up nearly a quarter of all violent crime. (Crime in England and Wales, Home Office, July 2002)
  • Less than 35% of actual domestic violence is reported to the police. Some surveys put it as low as 11%. (Crime in England and Wales, Home Office, July 2002; Home Office Research Study, 1999)
  • Just under half of victims are prepared to tell a relative or friend. (Home Office Research Study 1999)
  • Out of an estimated 635,000 incidents of domestic violence in 2001/2 in England and Wales – 81% of the victims were women and 19% were men. (Crime in England and Wales, Home Office July 2002)
  • In a study of the take-up of services by Asian, African Caribbean and Middle-Eastern women it was found that about half the women who had experienced domestic violence waited 5 or more years before they sought help. (Rai and Thiara 1997)

Domestic Violence also affects Children

  • There are children (16 years or under) in half of the households where there is domestic violence. (1999 Home Office study)
  • It is estimated that between 30% and 60% of children in homes where the mother is being abused are also at risk of being abused. (Home Office, 2000)
  • A 2000 survey of 1300 schoolchildren found that 1 in 3 boys thought violence against women was acceptable. (Survey by Zero Tolerance Charitable Trust)
  • The family courts deal with all child contact disputes on a case by case basis. Evidence of domestic violence will be taken into account and decisions about residence and contact made accordingly.

Men as victims of Domestic Violence

Men can also be victims of domestic violence at the hands of both female and male partners.

Men often feel as if they are the only man who has ever experienced domestic violence but you’re not alone. Although research shows that it is mainly women, this doesn’t mean that men don’t suffer too. Indeed the 2001/02 British Crime Survey found that 19% of reported domestic violence victims were male victims with just under half of these being committed by a female abuser.

Whoever you are, being hurt by someone you love and trust can be devastating. You may feel bewildered and confused. You may wonder if it’s your fault. You may not feel like a ‘real man’ if you admit to being abused by your partner. You may feel too ashamed or embarrassed to tell anyone. If you do tell, you may find that you are not believed or that your abuse is trivialised. For all victims of abuse, the message is the same…

Men have exactly the same rights as women to be safe in their own homes. The Police, Crown Prosecution Service, Housing Departments and Social Services have a duty to provide services to all – whether male or female. Men are protected by exactly the same laws as women.

For details about what protection the law offers you as a victim of Domestic Violence see our page on ‘INJUNCTIONS’

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