Domestic Violence

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Call now on the Emsleys Family Law Helpline:
0844 939 0066

Don't suffer in silence

If you are unfortunate enough to have suffered from, or are under threat of domestic violence, there is no need to suffer in silence as we can advise you about the options available to you.

Violence or abuse within a relationship is unacceptable in any circumstance. Often, victims are too close to the situation to recognise that such behaviour should not be tolerated.

Domestic violence is sadly more common than is perhaps known and can be a problem for not only those on the receiving end, but also those responsible for the abuse, and any children that may be caught up in the situation.

If you are at risk it's possible to get help from the police and the court in the form of an injunction order to protect you and your children. Orders can instruct a person that they are not to be violent to or threaten violence to their former partner or the children of the relationship, or they can state that a person is not to come within a certain distance of a property. In extreme cases an order can exclude a person from the family home.

Since 1 July 2007, breach of many injunction orders is now a criminal offence which means that the police have the power to arrest and charge a person who ignores the terms of an injunction order made by the court.

How we can help

Your safety and that of your family is of paramount importance to us. Whatever situation you find yourself in our Leeds based Family Law team can advise on the law and the best courses of action to ensure your safety from domestic violence or abuse. If necessary, we can take action through the court to protect you and these orders can, in serious circumstances, be obtained within 24 hours.

We're able to grant public funding (also known as Legal Aid) on an emergency basis to allow urgent action to be taken on your behalf. If violence or abuse persists, we can support you in enforcing orders made by the court.

Questions & Answers

Q - My partner has been violent towards me. What type of legal help can I get?

A - Help can be obtained both through criminal proceedings (ie the police taking action to protect you) and through civil action (by obtaining an injunction order).

If the police are called out at the time of the incident then they may arrest your partner if they believe that he/she has committed a crime. They may keep him/her in custody if the offence is severe enough and then they will bring him/her before the courts.

They may also release him/her on police bail but impose conditions which may cause them to be arrested and held if they breach the conditions.

Typical conditions imposed on bail might be that the person is not to contact you, or that they must live at a specified address.

From a civil point of view we can advise on the options available to you under the Family Law Act 1996. In the first instance you will be told to inform the police and a warning letter may be sufficient to prevent your partner from continuing their behaviour.

If however, your partner's behaviour is such that a warning letter will not help, you may also be able to obtain a civil injunction against them through the court, to prevent their behaviour continuing. In extreme cases it may be possible to prevent them from entering your property.

You may be able to get a civil injunction even if the police are taking criminal action against your partner.

Q - What punishment will my partner get?

A - A criminal punishment could be that your partner may be bound over to keep the peace, fined or given a prison sentence. Each case is different and the punishment depends on the seriousness of the offence.

A civil punishment, if the injunction is breached, could also include a fine and/or a prison sentence.

Q - Will I get Legal Aid?

A - This will depend on how much you earn and how much money and property you have. It will also depend on the nature of your case and whether or not you need a solicitor to represent you in court proceedings (a warning letter sometimes is sufficient to stop someones behaviour).

Q - What if the person abusing me is not my partner or is not related to me?

A - The protection under The Family Law Act 1996 relates to husbands, wives, partners, former partners, relatives and certain other people.

If you do not fit into any of the categories listed in the 1996 Act then there is protection available under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 and so it may still be possible to obtain an injunction against the people who are harassing or being violent to you.

There are also other options available through the police. It's always best to report any harassment or violence to the police in any event.

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