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The law is ever-evolving to protect you from domestic abuse. It is difficult to open up about suffering domestic abuse, whether physical or mental, but our specialists are here and ready to listen. We are not here to judge, just help. Our experts based in Stafford, Newcastle-under-Lyme & Alsager are trained to recognise evidence of domestic abuse, when those who are suffering sometimes cannot see it for themselves.
Domestic abuse covers a wide range of abusive behaviour including but not limited to sexual violence, physical attacks, verbal abuse, threats, harassment, breaches of privacy, isolation, mental abuse and bullying and financial control. Since 29 December 2015 the offence of controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate or family relationship came into force in order to provide more protection from domestic abuse. It is common for a person who is in an abusive relationship to not necessarily spot the signs that they are suffering abuse.
Standing up to an abuser is not easy. However, it can be done and we have staff trained to help you through this and obtain you legal protection. We also work with key local organisations who provide wider support in terms of getting out of and moving on from an abusive relationship. This includes help in obtaining financial support where it is available, re-housing, emotional support and much more.
The police can issue a Domestic Violence Protection Notice to protect a person from immediate or threatened violence where there is sufficient cause to do so. The Courts can turn the Notice into a Domestic Violence Protection Order where necessary. However, these are limited to up to 28 days.
The police will usually advise a person who has suffered domestic abuse to pursue a Court Order through the family Courts as they have more power to impose punitive sentences. There are commonly two legal protective orders (“injunctions”) we can apply for under the Family Law Act:-
- Non-Molestation Injunction Orders:
Protect the person. They can prohibit an abuser from physically assaulting you, harassing you, contacting you, abusing you on social media or through third parties, communicating with you or coming near you.
You can apply against someone you are having or have had a relationship with, a close family member, a person who has Parental Responsibility for your child or grandchildren, or someone you are living or have lived with.
When an abuser breaches a Non-Molestation Order they will be arrested and sentenced. A Non-Molestation Order carries a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment.
- Occupation Orders:
Protect your right to live safely in your home. They can prohibit an abuser from living in a property which you own or rent, in which you live or you intended to be your shared family home. This is regardless of who owns the property.
An Occupation Order will usually have a Power of Arrest attached to it, meaning that the police can arrest the abuser if they return to the property.
Legal Aid remains available for domestic abuse matters and there is no longer any Court fee charged for such applications.
Please note that we do not offer legal aid for private family law matters including domestic abuse.
If you would like to discuss this further please do not hesitate to speak to one of our friendly team members on 01785 252377 for Stafford appointments, 01782 987551 for Newcastle-under-Lyme or 01270 446260 for Alsager appointments.