Domestic Abuse

If you are looking for help with domestic abuse or violence our specialist solicitors can help you.

 

In addition to office meetings, we offer remote meetings by telephone or video conferencing if required.

To discuss your options call us 24/7 on 0208 004 0065 or email us at hello@southgate.co.uk

Domestic Abuse is defined under the law as any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can include but is not limited to psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional abuse. It is a criminal offence if any of this abuse is committed and the perpetrator can be liable to arrest.

Controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.

 

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

 

If you are at immediate risk of any of the above you should contact the police who may be able to assist on an urgent basis. Thereafter you can contact our expert solicitors who specialise in protection against Domestic Abuse and we can discuss obtaining any necessary orders to ensure your safety.

 

Injunctions & Non-Molestation Orders

 

An injunction or non-molestation order will protect you by preventing further abuse or contact from an abusive partner or relative. A breach of an injunction or non-molestation order is a criminal offence and if breached the party will be liable to arrest. 

 

These injunctions can include various terms to ensure protection from abuse, such as preventing a person coming within a certain distance of your home or employment, contact by any means or encouraging other people to commit abuse.

 

Occupation Orders

 

Alongside an injunction, it may also be necessary to seek for an order to prevent a person from living or returning to the home that the victim of abuse occupies. Such an order can be made even if you do not own the home or if the tenancy is not in your name.

 

What We Can Do

 

Given the importance and sensitive nature of domestic abuse matters, it is always essential to seek advice and representation from a qualified and accredited solicitor to ensure that you are fully aware of your rights and legal options.

 

We have extensive experience in dealing with all areas of domestic abuse. We are members of Resolution and hold Law Society Family Law Advanced Panel Accreditation which demonstrates our knowledge, skill and expertise in this area of law.

 

Our Past Cases

 

Below are some Domestic Abuse cases we have represented and conducted in the past:

 

  • Obtaining an urgent without notice non-molestation  order against a husband and preventing him from returning to the family home to commit further abuse

 

  • Securing an occupation order, alongside a non-molestation order, allowing a wife to remain at the former matrimonial home with the children whilst divorce and children proceedings take place

 

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Frequently Asked Questions

I am a victim of domestic abuse and am considering applying for a court order. Do I need to tell my ex-partner beforehand?


No. The courts allow for applications for injunctions (Non-Molestation Orders and Occupation Orders) to be made ‘without notice’ where appropriate. This means that you could apply for the order that you are seeking and if the court is satisfied on the basis of your application and statement that there is a risk to you or to any child of the relationship or that notifying the other person in advance would lead to either them trying to avoid the order or that you may be put off applying, then the court will make the order without the other person being aware of it.




I have obtained a ‘without notice’ order, should I now till tell the other person?


Yes. For a ‘without notice’ order to be effective and for its terms to be enforceable by the courts and the police, the person whom the order is made against must be made aware of the order and its terms. The court’s are increasingly flexible about how this is done and each case will depend on the circumstances. Some cases will involve a process server physically giving the order to the other person, others may be sent via email or even WhatsApp.




I have had a ‘without notice’ order made against me. Is that the end of the matter or do I get to respond?


When a court makes a ‘without notice’ order, it will usually also list what is called a ‘Return Hearing’ which is to take place about two weeks after the order is first made. You will have the opportunity to respond to the allegations at that hearing. If you receive a ‘without notice’ order you should seek legal advice as soon as possible as these are very serious orders which can also affect any future proceedings regarding your children.




What is a Non-Molestation Order?


A non-molestation order is an order prohibiting a person (the respondent) from molesting another person who is associated with the respondent or a relevant child.




What does the court look at when considering whether to grant a Non-Molestation Order?


Three principles will be considered by the court when deciding whether to grant the order: there must be evidence of molestation going on; the applicant or child must need protection and the Judge must be satisfied that judicial intervention is required to control the respondent’s behaviour.




What could amount to molestation?


Molestation has been held to include the following: vexatious communications by telephone/post; acts and threats of violence; rifling through the applicant’s handbag and personal belongings; writing abusive letters and shouting obscenities; filling car locks with superglue; posting information on social media about a child and recording the other parent at child contact handovers.




Can you obtain a Non-Molestation Order against a mother-in-law/father-in-law?


Yes, you can. An order can only be granted to protect a person associated with the respondent or a relevant person. The definition of associated persons includes a relative. A mother-in-law/father-in-law is a relative and therefore an associated person for the purposes of an application for a non-molestation injunction.




How do I apply for a Non-Molestation Order?


An application for a non-molestation order should be made to the Family Court. The application is made on Form FL401, which must be supported by a witness statement verified by a statement of truth.

No court fee is payable in relation to an application for a non-molestation order.




How long can a Non-Molestation Order be put in place for?


A non-molestation order may be made for a specified period or until further order.




Can a Non-Molestation Order be varied or discharged?


Yes, it can. An application can be made by an applicant or respondent to vary, extend or discharge an order. This can be done using Form FL403.




What happens if the respondent breaches a Non-Molestation Order?


A respondent commits a criminal offence if they do anything prohibited by the non-molestation order without reasonable excuse.

In respect of orders made without notice, a respondent can only be guilty of an offence if they were aware of the existence of the order at the time of the alleged conduct.




What is an Occupation Order?


An occupation order is an order conferring, declaring, restricting or regulating rights of occupation in the family home between parties who are in, or who have been in, certain categories of relationship.




How do I apply for an Occupation Order?


An application for an occupation order should be made to the Family Court. The application is made on Form FL401, which must be supported by a witness statement verified by a statement of truth.

There is no court fee payable in relation to an application for an occupation order.




What does the court look at when considering whether to grant an Occupation Order?


The court is to have regard to all the circumstances of the case including the following: the housing needs and housing resources of each of the parties and of any relevant child; the financial resources of each of the parties; the likely effect of any order, or decision not to exercise powers, on the health, safety or wellbeing of the parties and any relevant child; the conduct of the parties; the nature of the parties’ relationship and the particular level of commitment involved in it; the length of time during which they have cohabited; whether there are or have been children who are children of both parties or for whom both parties have or have had parental responsibility; the length of time that has elapsed since the parties ceased to live together/marriage or civil partnership was dissolved or annulled and the existence of any pending proceedings.





Are you a victim of domestic abuse or at risk of violence?
Call us now or send an enquiry below to discuss your options!

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Tel: 0208 004 0065 - Email: hello@southgate.co.uk

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