For anyone experiencing domestic abuse, Christmas and the New Year can be a frightening and isolating time.
While most people will be celebrating time together with family and friends, sadly there are those out there in a physically or emotionally abusive relationship who are isolated by the extended festive period, resulting in fewer opportunities for them to seek help and advice.
The Covid pandemic still isn’t over and this year there are the added pressures of a cost-of-living crisis, financial woes as well as a range of strikes, all of which can heighten emotions within the home to a physical or mental breaking point.
But it’s important to remember that initial help is at hand for anyone suffering from and wishing to escape domestic abuse, whether an adult, or a child.
The Police advise family and friends to keep an eye out for signs of domestic abuse. This is especially important for victims who may be unable to contact the Police themselves. Calls can be made to 101, or 999 in an emergency. Victims who are unable to speak when they call can press 55 when promoted by the operator or tap / cough in response to queries. This is known as a ‘silent solution’.
The first point of contact should always be the Police in a domestic abuse situation, especially in an emergency, however domestic abuse services are always prepared to help year-round and offer over the phone and online support and advice 24/7. More information on these is available at the end of this article.
Free phone-in Family Law Clinic
For anyone seeking legal advice, Tallents Solicitors also offers a free phone-in Family Law clinic on Tuesday evenings, 5-7pm. Just call 01636 813411 for a confidential chat about your personal circumstances.
How we can help
For those who are seeking protection from an abuser, the Family Court can play a key part in providing a form of protection to those who need it most under the Family Law Act 1996 (FLA 1996).
Family lawyers can advise on the best solution for individual circumstances and there are several orders available:
- non-molestation order, which prevents the abuser from contacting the abused
- occupation order, which controls the occupation of the family home
- prohibited steps order, which prevents an individual from doing specific actions (such as leaving the country with a child)
All these orders can be brought Ex-parte, meaning the judge can protect a vulnerable individual against a party, while the defendant is unaware of the proceedings against them.
In this article, we will discuss non-molestation orders.
These are aimed at ensuring the health, safety and well-being of you and your children by preventing the abusive partner or ex-partner from subjecting you to abusive behaviour, including intimidation, harassment, pestering, stalking, or communicating with you, threats or acts of violence; abusive language whether directly or indirectly e.g., via social media, sexual assault and financial abuse, i.e., withholding money or using money to assert control over you.
To apply for a non-molestation order, you must prove that you have an ‘association’ with your abuser under the FLA 1996. This extends the relationship to include those who were: married, civil partners, living together, etc. It also includes relatives and in-laws.
Usually granted for 6-12 months, a non-molestation order can be extended for longer in certain circumstances. It allows the Police to arrest the abuser for the offence of breaching the order even if there is insufficient evidence of actual criminal behaviour.
The order could prevent the abuser coming within a certain distance from you, your home, your work or even your child’s school. It can also prevent them from encouraging others to act against you. For those on a limited income wishing to obtain a non-molestation order, Legal Aid is available.
For more information on any family law issue or the types of orders which may be relevant for your circumstances, please contact us in confidence at one of our three offices in Newark, Southwell or Mansfield or call our free phone-in clinic on 01636 813411.
We also have more information on available Domestic Abuse helplines and support here:
Calling the Police if you are in danger and need the police but can’t speak:
- dial 999
- listen to the questions from the operator
- respond by coughing or tapping your phone if you can
- if prompted press 55, this tells the operator it’s a genuine call and you’ll be put through to the police
Additional domestic abuse support:
- Notts 24 Hour Helpline – 0808 800 0340
- NIDAS – 01623 683 250
- Women’s Aid live chat 10am – 6pm seven days a week
- National Centre for Domestic Violence – 0800 270 9070 or text NCDV to 60777
- Mankind or call 01823 334244
- Men’s Advice Line 0808 8010327 or email@example.com
- National Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0808 2000 247
- GALOP LGBT+ Domestic Abuse helpline – 0800 999 5428