If you or a loved one has experienced domestic violence of any sort, we can help you explore your options to seek protection from further harm.
Our domestic violence solicitors are highly experienced at approaching these matters sensitively and compassionately. Our aim will always be to ensure you receive the support necessary to leave unhealthy environments and achieve closure and security for you and your children (if you have any).
Domestic violence can take may shapes and forms including physical, emotional, psychological, financial, and sexual abuse. Whatever kind of situation you are experiencing, we sincerely understand how overwhelming and devastating domestic violence is for a person’s self-confidence and sense of self-worth. We want to emphasise that nothing that has happened is your fault; nobody should be controlled or hurt in the ways experienced all too regularly by our clients.
We can provide you with clear advice about the legal options available to you as well as making applications for a number of protective notices, orders and injunctions on your behalf. We can help you divorce or separate from an abusive partner, including helping you arrange financial matters without having to deal directly with them. We’ll also help you access support services and further advice on safeguarding yourself and your children.
You may be eligible for legal aid if you are a victim of domestic violence. We can provide further information about this as well as helping you make an application.
To speak to one of our approachable solicitors about your situation, please get in touch by giving us a call at our offices in either Lincoln, Grantham, or Newark. Alternatively, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in our enquiry form.
What is domestic violence?
The legal definition of domestic violence (also referred to as domestic abuse) is controlling, coercive, and/or threatening behaviour, violence, or abuse. Domestic violence can happen to any gender or sexuality and we have experience advising male and female victims and abuse within same-sex relationships.
The following all count as types of abuse:
Domestic violence occurs in all types of family structure and examples of abuse include stalking and harassment, rape and sexual assault, forced marriage, honour based violence, and Female Genital Mutilation.
How our domestic violence solicitors can help and support you
If you have experienced domestic violence, we’ll take all possible steps to help you access support and protection from further harm. Everyone’s situation is unique, so first of all we’ll listen considerately to your account of what has happened and to your concerns or worries. We’ll then carefully tailor a plan of action and put in place the right protections for your individual circumstances, taking into account your children’s best interests.
We’ll ensure that we minimise any disruption to your life wherever possible and we can also help you access other support services, such as refuges, local authority housing, state benefits, and counselling wherever necessary.
We operate a strict client confidentiality policy so you can trust that nothing you say to us in confidence will ever get back to your abuser.
Our expertise includes:
- Non-Molestation Orders, Occupation Orders, Domestic Violence Protection Orders and Notices, and Protection from Harassment injunctions
- “Your right to ask” – seeking a person’s domestic violence history from the police
- Divorce and separation, including making financial arrangements and decisions about your children (including obtaining legal protections where your children’s welfare is at risk from an abusive partner)
- Coercive control and gaslighting
- Child to parent violence
- Honour based violence
- Forced marriage
Non-Molestation Orders (NMOs) are court-ordered injunctions which prevent your abuser from threatening, intimidating, harassing, or using violence on you and your children.
You can get an NMO against:
- A partner or former partner
- A family member, for example a parent, sibling, aunt, or uncle
- Someone you’re living with or used to live with
Breach of an NMO is a criminal offence and the abuser could be arrested. You can also take legal action in the civil courts if they ignore the Order.
Occupation Orders control who can and cannot live in your family home. For example, if you don’t feel safe living with your partner or you’ve left home because of domestic abuse and you want to return, an Occupation Order can ban your abuser from the home and the surrounding area.
If your abuser ignores the Order, they may be arrested or you can take action in the civil courts.
Domestic Violence Protection Orders and Notices
Introduced in 2014, the police and Magistrates’ Court have powers to apply for and make orders to protect victims of domestic violence, even where a prosecution for a criminal offence of domestic violence can’t be secured.
The Order can be used to prevent your abuser from contacting you or returning to your home, even if it’s their home too, for up to 28 days. This time is typically intended to allow you space to reflect and make arrangements to leave the abusive situation without the influence of your abuser.
The police can help you access certain services and agencies; we can also provide support during this time, such as providing advice on how to access state benefits, local authority housing, or private rented accommodation.
The way the process works is, if the police suspect a person of domestic abuse, they will serve a Domestic Violence Protection Notice lasting for 48 hours while they apply to the Magistrates’ Court for an Order. A hearing will then take place and, upon hearing the evidence, the Magistrates can make the full Domestic Violence Protection Order.
Protection from Harassment injunctions
Harassment is unwanted behaviour which can make you feel distressed, frightened, threatened, and humiliated. Examples of harassing behaviour include unwanted phone calls, texts, emails, or visits, stalking, verbal abuse, and damage to your property.
People who previously suffered domestic abuse are sometimes subjected to harassment after they try to end their relationship or otherwise leave and avoid the abusive situation.
If you’re experiencing harassment, you can get an injunction under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. If the perpetrator continues to harass you, they can be arrested or you can take civil action against them.
Your “right to ask”
Under the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, you have a right to ask the police whether your partner has a history of domestic violence. Many people think that the police can’t give out information about another person’s criminal history; however, they can, in fact, give you information if it’s necessary to protect you.
We can help you utilise your right to ask as well as providing advice about any information the police provide you and helping you work out a plan of action.
Coercive control and gaslighting
It is now a criminal offence to subject another person to coercive control. If you or a loved one is in a coercive relationship, you can report it to the police and/or take civil action in the Family Court.
The definition of coercive control is where a person which whom you are personally connected (such as a partner or family member) continuously acts in a controlling and isolating way, forcing you to be dependent upon them and potentially causing you to feel uncertainty and fear. Examples of coercive control include:
- Monitoring what you do and where you go
- Isolating you from friends and family
- Controlling your money and how you spend it
- Threatening to harm you
- Putting you down and making you feel worthless or unlovable
- Damaging your property
- Forcing you to take part in criminal activity
Abusers will often use gaslighting to control their victims. Gaslighting is a form of manipulation by causing you to doubt your own thoughts, memories, and actions. Examples of gaslighting include:
- Refusing to listen to you – “I’m not listening to this again”
- Pretending not to understand what you’re saying – “You’re just trying to confuse me”
- Countering your version of past events – “That’s not how it happened”; “You’re twisting things”
- Diverting you – “You’re imagining things”
- Trivialising your thoughts and feelings – “You’re just being emotional right now”
- Denying or pretending to forget past events and conversations – “You’re making that up”; “I never said that”
All these techniques can make a gaslighting victim feel “crazy” or like they do everything wrong. In turn, their abuser obtains control by becoming someone who is apparently always right or is a good person for putting up with your behaviour.
If you suspect you’ve experienced coercive control, we can provide you with advice and help you access legal protection for you and your children, such as applying for an Occupation Order or Non-Molestation Order.
Child to parent abuse can come in many forms, including emotional abuse, physical violence, and financial exploitation. In some circumstances, child to parent abuse is driven by substance abuse and addiction. Perpetrators can be minor children or adult children and victims can be anyone fulfilling a parental role (including foster carers).
We understand and deeply sympathise with the isolation, emotional pain and disruption to your life being subjected to domestic abuse by your child can cause. It can be incredibly difficult to break free of the control of your child or even believe they could be capable of their actions; however, we can provide you with support and guide you through your legal options for resolving the situation.
Honour based violence
Honour based violence is actions taken to protect the “honour” of a family and/or their community. Forms of honour based violence include:
- Physical, emotional, sexual, psychological, and financial abuse
- Removing access to children
- Forced marriage
- Isolation from friends and family
- Denying access to the internet, a telephone, or passport and identification documents
- Social ostracism
People sometimes find themselves the victim of honour based violence where they enter into a relationship with someone their family disapproved of, they separate from their husband, become pregnant/have children outside marriage, or try to access higher education without permission.
Experiencing honour based domestic violence can be difficult to spot and it often occurs within close-knit communities which hide and encourage the abuse. If you or a loved one is experiencing honour based domestic violence, we can help you access a range of legal protections to help you successfully escape the situation.
Forced marriage is a form of domestic violence whereby an individual faces physical, emotional, and/or psychological pressure to marry someone against their will. Forced marriage is illegal in England and Wales so families often take the victim overseas to marry.
If you are concerned about being forced to marry, you can apply to court for a Forced Marriage Protection Order to obtain legal protection. For example, someone may be ordered to hand over your passport so you cannot be taken abroad.
Legal aid for domestic violence
You may be eligible for Legal Aid if you can evidence that you or your children are or have been victims of domestic violence and you cannot afford to pay your own legal costs.
You can get evidence that you and/or your children were at risk of harm from a range of sources, including:
- The police
- The courts
- Social services
- Healthcare professionals, such as doctors, nurses, midwives, health visitors, and psychologists
- Refuge managers
- Domestic violence support services
- Your employer or education provider
- The provider for any benefits you receive
We can provide advice on whether you are likely to receive Legal Aid as well as assessing the evidence you need, your financial circumstances, and supporting you through the application process.
Why choose Bird & Co’s domestic abuse solicitors
At Bird & Co, we’re proud to serve clients across the UK and even abroad with the highest quality of legal advice and representation. We connect strongly with the individuals who approach us for help and will stop at nothing to achieve the best outcome possible in the circumstances.
Our highest priority is the safety of you and your children. Our advice is absolutely confidential and your partner or relative will only be aware that you’re seeking legal advice if you explicitly consent to us starting proceedings to obtain legal protection. We can also:
- Guide you towards other support services, including your local authority or refuges
- Help you sort out finances if you are married or live with an abusive partner and you want to leave them (which can be done without you having to deal directly with your partner)
- Help you make childcare arrangements, including taking legal action to prevent an abuser’s access to your children
We’ll work sensitively but swiftly to help you resolve the matter as soon as possible, allowing you to achieve closure so you can start moving on with your life.
Bird & Co has been accredited by the Law Society in Children Law and have specific expertise acting in family law matters involving children or acting as representatives for children in court proceedings.
We’ve also been accredited in Lexcel, the legal practice quality mark for firms which display excellent client care and legal practice management.
Bird & Co is independently regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
Get in touch with our family law domestic violence solicitors
To speak to one of our family law domestic violence solicitors, please get in touch by giving us a call at our offices in either Lincoln, Grantham, or Newark. Alternatively, please email email@example.com or fill in our enquiry form.