Domestic violence injunction: Protecting victims of abuse
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Domestic abuse can happen to anyone, at any point in their lives. Being a victim of domestic violence can be a terrifying experience for both the victim and their loved ones. If you think you may be the victim of domestic abuse, it is important that you report the abuse and get help as soon as possible.
Fortunately, there is a lot of help out there for victims of this type of abuse or threatening violence, from charities, police officers, and solicitors.
With the help of a family law solicitor, you could obtain a domestic violence injunction to ensure you and your family members are protected from your abuser. A solicitor could also provide assistance to victims in need of a divorce from their spouse or separation from a civil partnership due to domestic abuse.
What is a domestic violence injunction?
There are two types of domestic violence injunctions which are a type of court order, put in place to protect victims and their families. The two type of injunctions include Non-Molestation Orders and Occupation Orders.
- Non-Molestation Order – This type of order can be put in place to prevent a person from threatening violence, harassing, intimidating, or becoming violent towards the victim. A Non-Molestation Order could be put in place to prohibit an abuser from contacting a victim via telephone, social media, email, or in person.
- Occupation Order- This type of order can be used to exclude an abuser from the victim’s family home. It can force the abuser to move out and/ or stay a certain distance away from the home. In some cases, the order may stipulate the the abuser is required to stay in a specific part of the home at certain times. It may order an abuser to allow access to the home if they have locked the victim out. It may also order the abuser to continue paying rent, mortgage and/or bills on a home.
Domestic Violence Solicitor FAQ’s
What should I do in a domestic violence emergency?
If you find yourself in a violent situation, or if you believe a person is likely to become violent, you should call the police by dialling 999 straight away to protect you from any further abuse. In most situations, the abuser may be arrested.
If you have been the victim of continued domestic abuse or violence, you should report this to the police as soon as possible.
Emergency injunctions may also be obtainable through the National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV).
Who can a domestic violence injunction be made against?
A victim of domestic violence can apply for an injunction against anyone they are associated with who has harmed, or posed a risk of harm towards them. An associated person can include:
- Someone the victim is/was married or engaged to (or in a civil partnership)
- Someone the victim is/was living with
- Someone the victim is/was sharing a household with, for example a flatmate; however this does not include borders, lodgers, employees or tenants
- A relative of the victim, whether by cohabitation, marriage, civil partnership, or by blood
- Someone the victim has a child with
- Someone the victim shares/shared parental responsibility for a child with
- Someone the victim is/was in an intimate relationship with for a significant period of time
How do I obtain a domestic violence injunction?
With the help of your solicitor, you will need to fill in a FL401 form to apply for a Non-Molestation or Occupation Order. A witness statement will also need to be written by the victim or their solicitor setting out the details of the situation and what the victim wishes to achieve by obtaining an order.
This should be sent to the court for an order to be made. The application can be made with or without the abuser being present, and the application can be made against them without notice. If an order is made without notice, the court may arrange a further hearing, which both the victim and the abuser will be required to attend, to allow the alleged abuser to present their side of the story. At this point, the judge will consider whether the order should be continued or extended.
Protection provided by the order will only be put in place when the abuser becomes aware of the injunction made against them. It is the responsibility of the victim or their solicitor to make the abuser aware of the injunction by serving it upon them.
What happens if an abuser ignores the injunction made against them?
If your abuser breaches the injunction made against them, you will be required to enforce in injunction, which means asking the court to take further action. The action taken by the court will depend on the type of order in place.
If an abuser breaches a non-molestation order, this will be seen as a criminal offence and the order can be enforced by reporting the behaviour to the police and starting proceedings in the criminal court, or by starting civil proceedings by applying to the court that made the order to have the respondent arrested or punished.
When enforcing an occupation order, the process will depend upon whether a power of arrest is afforded to the order. If there is a power of arrest attached, the abuser can be arrested if they are in breach of said order. To have the abuser arrested, the victim should call the police. If there is no power of arrest attached, the victim can make an application to the court to have the abuser arrested and/or punished for the breach.
How much does it cost to obtain an injunction against an abuser?
There is no charge for making an application to the court for a domestic abuse injunction. Legal Aid is also often available to help fund domestic abuse cases.
You should discuss fees with your solicitor; but in some circumstances, if Legal Aid is not an option for your case, your domestic abuse solicitor may agree to take on your case on a no win, no fee agreement. Others may charge a fixed fee for their work. Fees will always be discussed and agreed with you, prior to the initiation of your case. Most of our solicitors will provide free legal advice before agreeing to take on your case.
How can Expert Family Law’s panel of solicitors assist?
Our panel of domestic abuse solicitors will ensure you get the best advice and will ensure you are made safe from your abuser as soon as possible. We can assist by obtaining the right court order or injunction as well as assisting in divorce, child arrangements and ancillary relief.
We understand that being a victim of domestic abuse can be extremely distressing. We ensure that the domestic abuse solicitors on our panel have the skills and experience required to assist on your legal case. We can assure you that your case will be dealt with in a compassionate and understanding manner.
Get in touch today using the form at the top of the page to find out if a family law solicitor from our panel could help on your case.
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