We understand the strength and courage it takes to seek help to get out of an abusive relationship as no one should have to suffer from domestic abuse, harassment or violence.
Our special family lawyers are all members of Resolution, an organisation committed to the constructive resolution of family disputes through non-confrontational communication.
There is increasing awareness around abuse and the forms in which it can take, however there are still many people that continue to suffer. We understand how difficult it can be to seek help, which is why we will lead you through the law in a sensitive, supportive and discrete way.
The general working definition accepted by legal professionals is:
“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 and emotional.”
The definitions of which are:
The term refers to a form of intimidation or psychological abuse where false information is presented to the victim, in order to encourage them to doubt their memory and perception.
Five key characteristics of gaslighting:
The restriction of access to essential resources (food, clothing or transport) and restricting the possibility of a person being able to improve their economic status (not allowing a person to go for a promotion, obtain employment, training or education).
The victim is then reliant on the abuser for financial support, in a controlling and restrictive manner.
1. Harassment Order under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997
Harassment is both a criminal offence and a civil action under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. This means that someone can be prosecuted in the criminal courts if they harass you. It also means you can take action against the person in the civil courts.
2. Non-Molestation Order under the Family Act 1996
The word ‘molestation’ covers not only violence and threats of violence, but also pestering. In accordance with section 42 (5) of the Family Law Act 1996 the Court must have regard to all circumstances including the need to secure health, safety and well-being for the Applicant. Provided the Applicant can show a genuine need for protection a non-molestation order will be granted.
Breach of a Non-Molestation Order
Section 43A of the FLA 1996 makes breach of a non-molestation order a criminal offence punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment on indictment and 12 months imprisonment on conviction in the Magistrates’ Court.
Where a Respondent breaches a non-molestation order they will be arrested for the crime of breaching the order and can be charged and brought before a criminal court. The prosecution will be handled by the CPS and the solicitors for the complainant will not play any role.
The penalty for breaking an occupation order can be up to two years in jail where a power of arrest was attached to the order or a fine of up to £5,000.
3. Occupation Order under the Family Law Act 1996
Under sections 33 and 35 to 38 of the Family Law Act 1996, an Occupation Order allows the Court to decide who should live, or not live, in the home or any part of it. The Order can also exclude the other person from an area around the home.
The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme is often called ‘Clare’s Law‘ after the landmark case that led to it. Clare’s Law gives any member of the public the right to ask the police if their partner may pose a risk to them.