Victims often feel trapped. Abuse is often subtle, and so victims feel there is no obvious remedy available. However, there are legal remedies available and you should seek advice from your family solicitors.
Under the Family Law Act 1996, the court has powers to make orders to protect victims from domestic violence and to regulate the occupation of the family home. An injunction under the Family Law Act is known as a Non Molestation order.
In urgent situations, the court has power to make a non molestation order without the accused having the chance to put their side of the story. The court will only make such urgent orders provided it is satisfied of a real and imminent risk of harm to the victim. Such urgent applications are often made following incidents of physical violence.
Once the order is made, it must be served upon the perpetrator to be binding and enforceable. It is a criminal offence to breach a non molestation order and can be punishable by up to 6 months in prison.
Typically, a non molestation order will forbid the perpetrator from using or threatening violence against the applicant, and from intimidating harassing or pestering the applicant. It can also include such other provisions such as to forbid the perpetrator from contacting the applicant, or from coming within a certain distance of her home.
If the situation is not urgent, where there is no imminent risk of significant harm, an application for a non molestation order can still be made on notice to the perpetrator.
The court also has power to make occupation orders. These can include provision to oust the perpetrator from the home and suspend his right to occupy. They can also grant the applicant the right to reside there if she has no existing right to occupy. Such orders are typically for 6 months.
Victims of domestic violence should try to seek police assistance and domestic violence attorney from places like www.kwdllp.com/domestic-violence, but should be aware that the civil courts can also assist. Domestic violence charities can often direct victims to solicitors who can help and also to refuges where they can stay.
Claire Cleary is a solicitor at Fisher Meredith. She specialises in family law, and regularly advises clients on a broad range of family law issues including divorce, cohabitation and property disputes, and also in relation to financial settlements. Claire also advises clients regarding domestic violence and in relation to contact and residence disputes.
Fisher Meredith offers a wide range of legal services to individuals, businesses and other commercial organisations. For more information about Fisher Meredith please go towww.fishermeredith.co.uk