Domestic Violence Applications
Violence in the home
According to research, women who suffer violence at the hands of a partner or spouse are attacked, on average, 35 times before they first contact the police. For men, where the social stigma surrounding domestic violence is often very restrictive, their suffering can go on longer.
When domestic violence occurs, the most important thing is your immediate protection and so contacting the police is the most advisable course of action. But what happens after that? The law affords several ways of protecting against the violence recurring and we can help you use the law to protect yourself any children and property you have.
When you instruct us we will ensure our legal expertise is delivered with empathy and support, and that you understand the law surrounding your case and the implications of any action you take.
What to do in the event of domestic violence
We advise first and foremost that if you are attacked, you contact the police who may arrest your partner if a criminal offence has been committed. Following that, the law helps you take long term measures so that it doesn’t happen again.
Court injunctions for domestic violence
You can apply to a court for an injunction against a live-in partner, spouse or any ‘associated’ persons, like a former partner, spouse or a relative.
There are lots of types of injunction:
- A non-molestation order, which prevents abuse, harassment and physical violence
- A common law injunction, which prevents contact, harassment and abuse for those living together but unmarried
- An occupation order, to make an abusive partner leave and stay out of your home
- The power of arrest, which allows immediate power of arrest when an injunction is breached
- An anti-harassment injunction, which if breached, even with the threat but not actual violence can lead to up to 5 years imprisonment
- An undertaking, which is a formal agreement between you and a partner that if broken, can lead to imprisonment
If the court feels that you or any relevant child will suffer harm because of your partner’s violent behaviour, they will consider your application along with any financial or residential issues for you and the child/children and yours and your partner’s conduct and they can make an Order like the ones above to protect you.
An alternative to injunctions for violence in the home
If you do not wish to apply for a Non-Molestation Order or an Occupation Order then the alternative is to seek a remedy through the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. The Act allows us to go through the Criminal Courts to obtain protection against an abusive spouse or partner, with much the same result as an injunction. Your partner or spouse will be restricted in their contact with you and can also be arrested for behaviour such as stalking and harassment.
Your matrimonial home rights
If you own a home in joint names with a violent partner, you have automatic property rights as joint proprietor. However, if you live with a violent spouse who is legally the only one entitled to live in your home, you do have Matrimonial Home Rights which can help protect you. It enables the courts to decide if you can remain in the home or if you can return to the home, regardless of your spouse’s sole legal ownership of the property.
Ongoing domestic violence
Of course, many people endure ongoing violence and aggression. If the police are called out to your property they may advise you on shelters or refuges where you’ll be protected.