I am suffering domestic violence. What help is available?

On the 23rd March 2020, the government placed the UK into ‘lockdown’ and consequently we are only able to leave our homes if we have a ‘reasonable excuse’. Since its implementation, the lockdown has caused individuals to feel anxious, vulnerable, and stressed about the current climate and the health and wellbeing of loved ones.

In what are already very difficult times, it was truly heart-breaking to learn that since lockdown, there has been a sharp increase in the amount of calls, and online enquiries, requesting help from various Domestic Abuse Helplines. This blog aims to sign-post those who need protection and how to access it.

What is Domestic Abuse? Domestic Abuse comes in many forms from controlling, coercive, and threatening behaviour to physical violence. It also encompasses psychological, physical, sexual, financial and emotional harm. To include harassment, stalking and female genital mutilation.

If you are suffering Domestic Abuse within your household then one obvious form of protection would be to leave home and stay somewhere else. However, in the current climate this is not so easy and understandably, it may be difficult to seek help if you are living in extremely close proximity to the perpetrator.

However, there are various options and resources available to protect you.  There are various charities and organisations providing help and support.

The National Centre for Domestic Violence; Victim Support and the National Domestic Violence helplines are there to help. The Police also have several powers to prevent Harassment and other threatening behaviour by implementing Harassment Orders and Injunctions.

You can also take legal action and obtain a Court Order to prevent your abusive partner from harming or threatening you by obtaining a ‘Non-Molestation Order’.

A Non-Molestation Order prevents an individual from ‘molesting’ another person who is associated with them. The term ‘molestation’ refers to a level of harassment which requires the Court’s intervention and you need to be ‘associated’ with the perpetrator in order to apply. This means that you must have been married, been in a civil partnership with, cohabitated with or be related to the person who is causing the Domestic Violence. There is no Court fee for making an application for a Non-Molestation Order. They carry an automatic Power of Arrest if they are subsequently breached, giving peace of mind that the perpetrator will be punished for any breaches which are a criminal offence.

We realise that it may be difficult to access help, but at Thornton Jones we are here to guide you through the court process. If you would like further information, guidance or advice about applying for a Non-Molestation Order then please do not hesitate to contact one of our Family Lawyers on 01924 290029 for a free, no-obligation, confidential consultation.

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