Coronavirus – Domestic Abuse

In the year ending March 2019, an estimated 2.4 million adults aged between 16 and 74 years experienced domestic abuse (1.6 million women and 786,000 men). According to the office for National Statistics.

However, shockingly, recent statistics have revealed that domestic violence has dramatically increased since the start of the Coronavirus lockdown.

It is a very worrying time for those who suffer domestic abuse. as they are likely to feel trapped in a frightening position.

What is Domestic Abuse?

Domestic abuse is not just physical.

It is considered to be a pattern of controlling, threatening or coercive behaviour. Which may be emotional, psychological, financial or sexual.

The purpose is usually to maintain control over another with whom they have or have had an intimate or family relationship. By isolating them from sources of supporting, exploiting their resources, depriving them of means needed for independence and regulating their everyday behaviour.

Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse, regardless of gender, age or sexuality.

What is Coercive Behaviour?

Coercive behaviour is considered to be an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten the victim.

Controlling and coercive behaviour is a now criminal offence.

Legal Remedies – Injunctions

If you are suffering from domestic abuse, it is important to remember that there is help and support available. Including police assistance, online support and helplines.

It is also possible to apply to the Family Courts for an Injunction to protect you.

There are two types of Injunction:

  1. Non-Molestation Order – A Non-Molestation Order prevents your partner or spouse from using or threatening violence against you (and the children, if relevant), intimidating, harassing or pestering you.

To apply for a Non-Molestation Order you must be associated persons. This means that you must be former or current spouses, civil partners, cohabitants, fiancés, relatives, living in the same household, parents of a child in the house or have been in an intimate relationship of significant duration.

  1. Occupation Order – An Occupation Order regulates who can live in the family home (or certain parts of it) and can also restrict/ stop someone from entering the area surrounding a home.

Those who can apply for an Occupation Order include: former or current spouses, civil partners, cohabitants, or people with a legal entitlement to occupy a property (i.e. an owner or tenant)

How Can We Help?

We have a dedicated team of experienced family lawyers. We are on hand to give advice and explain your options in an emergency situation, even during the lockdown. The Courts have recognised the need to continue functioning during this difficult period in order to provide protection to those who need it. Therefore, applications can still be pursued, with Court Hearings taking place remotely.

If you wish to speak to one of our specialist family lawyers, please contact our family law team to arrange an appointment (currently being conducted by telephone). Alternatively, please fill in our contact form below:

Please click here to fill in our contact form

If you are at immediate risk of danger, you should contact the police, who are able to offer support and put emergency safeguards in place to protect you.

Other contacts/organisations

Other helplines and organisations that are on hand to help, including:

At Hart Reade, all of our family law solicitors are members of Resolution, which means we are committed to resolving matters by agreement and in a non-confrontational manner.

We can provide you with a wealth of information, advice and support to assist you during what can be a difficult time. If you wish to speak to any of the family law team, please call us on 01323 727321.

Please note that this article does not constitute legal advice and only provides a brief overview of certain issues. You should always speak to a legal professional to discuss your circumstances and consider your options.

Author: Guy Brown. Co-Head of Family Law Department