Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse happens when a partner, spouse or other person close to you causes you physical, mental, emotional or financial damage.

As of March 2015, a new law now also classifies repeated controlling or coercive behaviour as abuse.  In these cases, you may need the support of a specialist solicitor in order to help you deal with the situation. Our family team can help you obtain court orders to prohibit further abuse.

Our domestic abuse lawyers can assist with matters including:

  • Emergency protection orders to immediately protect you and your family from further abuse
  • Applying for a non-molestation order to protect you and/or your children from further harm
  • Applying for an occupation order to make your abuser leave your family home
  • Applying for a restraining order to prevent your abuser from coming near you or contacting you
  • Applying for a prohibited steps order to prevent your abuser from taking your children away from you
  • Taking action if your abuser breaches the terms of a court order
  • Initiating divorce proceedings for victims of domestic abuse
  • Ensuring financial security for you and your children

Whilst Legal Aid may be available in limited circumstances, unfortunately we are unable to offer this service. However due to the quality of service we provide, and the experience we have in the field, we are often instructed in these matters as our clients want somebody to represent them who they can trust to act in their best interests. 

We can often advise you as to what options you have available to you, and what action to take, during our initial fixed price consultation of £75.00 plus VAT

For a confidential discussion about getting immediate help and support for domestic abuse, please contact our specialist Ismotara Begum directly.

Legal support for victims of domestic abuse in Hertfordshire

Emergency protection for domestic abuse

If you or your children need immediate protection from your abuser, you may be able to apply to a court for an emergency protection order, also sometimes called an emergency injunction.

How this work is, if you are applying for one of the types of court orders outlined below, you can ask for an emergency order when you do so. This means that, if the court accepts the need for immediate protection, it can issue an emergency order as an interim measure while you wait for a court hearing to decide whether a longer term order should be granted.

This emergency order will normally last until your hearing, protecting you and your loves ones from your abuser straightaway. It can be issued without your abuser being given prior notice of the application, which can be very useful depending on your circumstances.

Non-molestation orders

A non-molestation order is designed to protect you from an abuser. This abuse might be physical, verbal, emotional or any other recognised form of domestic abuse.

The exact powers of a non-molestation order will depend on the application and what the court considers appropriate for your situation. Common provisions of non-molestation orders include preventing your abuser from:

  • Contacting you
  • Coming within a certain distance of you
  • Encouraging others to threaten, harm or intimidate you

Non-molestation orders usually last for 6-12 months and if your abuser breaches the terms of the order they can be arrested for doing so.

Occupation orders

If your abuser shares your home, an occupation order can be used to require them to leave and ban them from returning or being within a specific distance of your home. This can allow you to avoid the need to leave your family home to get away from your abuser.

An occupation order usually lasts for 6-12 months and the court can attach a ‘power of arrest’ to the order, which means that, should your abuser breach the terms of the order, they can be arrested.

Restraining orders

A restraining order is intended to prevent your abuser from subjecting you for further abuse. It can only be imposed by a court following criminal proceedings, so will only be applicable if you intend to make a criminal complaint about your abuser with the intent to have them prosecuted.

Where a restraining order is granted, it may last for a set period or until such time as the order is withdrawn. The court may impose a restraining order even if your abuser is found not guilty for a specific offence if the court feels it is appropriate to make the order anyway.

Breaching a restraining order is a criminal offence and your abuser could be arrested for doing so.

Prohibited steps orders

If you have children with your abuser, it may be advisable to apply to a court for a prohibited steps order. This can prevent someone with parental responsibility for your child or children from taking them away from you without your consent.

Threatening to take the children away is a common issue in domestic abuse situations, so getting a prohibited steps order in place is often a sensible precaution, especially if your former partner has previously taken your child/children, attempted to take them or threatened to do so.

The court will always consider your children’s best interests when deciding whether to issue a prohibited steps order, so it is important to take specialist advice on this issue when considering your options.

Taking action if your abuser breaches the terms of a court order

Where a court order has been issued against your abuser, then they are legally required to comply with its terms. If they fail to do so, you are within your rights to call the police and notify them. If the court order has a power of arrest attached, then your abuser can be arrested immediately for breaching the terms of the order.

Should your abuser repeatedly breach the terms of a court order, they could be jailed for doing so. In such cases, we can provide immediate advice on your options.

Divorce proceedings for victims of domestic abuse

Where your abuser is your spouse or civil partner, you may wish to start divorce proceedings or begin the process of dissolving your civil partnership.

Our family law team are highly experienced with handling divorce proceedings under even the most challenging circumstances, so can help guide you through the whole process, getting your divorce or civil partnership dissolution processed as quickly as possible.

Find out more about our divorce services.

Ensuring financial security for you and your children

Where you have separated from your domestic abuser, it is important to make sure you have financial security for yourself and any children you have. Our team can advise you on your options, including applying to a family court for a financial order during divorce or civil partnership dissolution.

Find out more about our financial settlement expertise.

Children and domestic abuse

Where you have children with your abuser, you will need to make arrangements for their future. Our family law team can advise you on your options, including applying to a court for a child arrangements order where appropriate.

Find out more about our children law expertise.

Our domestic abuse legal advice fees

Fixed fee domestic abuse legal support

Wherever possible, we will act on a fixed cost basis, helping you to get the protection you need in an affordable way. This means we will agree a price in advance for carrying out specific work, such as applying for a court order, so you know the exact costs involved from the outset.

Hourly rates for domestic abuse legal support

For more complex work, where the time involved is harder to predict (such as seeking a financial settlement during divorce), we will typically work to an agreed hourly rate. We will provide a realistic estimate of costs and keep you updated about expenditure, so you always remain in control of the costs.

Domestic abuse resources in Hertfordshire

Herts Domestic Abuse Helpline

The Herts Domestic Abuse Helpline is a free, confidential support service for anyone affected by domestic abuse. It can help point victims in the direction of the various forms of help available to them.

Visit the Herts Domestic Abuse Helpline website.

Herts Sunflower

The Herts Sunflower website provides advice for people who think they or a loved one may be a victim of abuse, as well as practical tips, such as how to delete your browser history if you are concerned that your abuser may be monitoring your internet use.

Visit the Herts Sunflower website.

Victim Support Hertfordshire

Victim Support is an independent charity that supports people affected by crime. They operate a free 24/7 helpline and have a live chat service, so can offer advice for victims of domestic abuse on their options. Victim support services in Hertfordshire are provided by local organisation Hertfordshire Beacon.

Visit the Victim Support Hertfordshire page.

Mind Domestic Abuse Service

Mind, the mental health charity, have a dedicated support service for victims of domestic abuse. They will listen to victims and offer useful information and advice to help people experiencing domestic abuse to take action.

Visit the Mind Domestic Abuse Service website.

Speak with our sensitive, expert domestic abuse solicitors in Hoddesdon & Broxbourne

For a confidential discussion about getting immediate help and support for domestic abuse, please contact our specialist Ismotara Begum directly.

 

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