Domestic violence and abuse

Domestic violence affects men and women from all walks of life. It’s not just current and former spouses/partners who it impacts, it can also distress parents, children and other family members.

What counts as domestic abuse?

Domestic violence is a crime and should be reported.  It can involve controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between people aged over 16. 

This January (2019), the government has unveiled a Draft Domestic Abuse Bill, including defining economic abuse and control. The move comes after is was revealed domestic abuse costs the country £66 billion a year.

Although domestic abuse occurs most often in partner relationships, it can also happen between family members, such as child-to-parent violence and abuse.

The law defines family members as father, mother, daughter, son, sister, brother and grandparents. This can refer to people who are blood related, adopted, in laws or step-family.

There are different types of domestic abuse, including:

  • Physical
  • Sexual
  • Emotional
  • Psychological
  • Financial

Domestic violence can take the form of intimidating and controlling conduct over a period of time. In fact, many abusers behave in ways that involve more than one type of domestic violence.

These definitions include issues of concern to minority ethnic communities. These can range from female genital mutilation, to forced marriage, and so-called 'honour-based violence'.

Who are the victims of domestic violence?

Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, socio-economic status, sexuality or background. 

In the year ending March 2018, an estimated 2.0 million adults were victims of domestic abuse -  1.3 million women, 695,000 men.

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I am a victim of domestic violence - what should I do?

You do not have to suffer in silence. 

If you are a young person or an adult experiencing domestic violence, please don’t be afraid to ask for help. In an emergency, you should always call the police on 999.

However, you don’t have to wait for an emergency situation to start getting the help you need.

You can:

Domestic violence disclosure scheme

There is something known as 'the right to ask' under Clare's Law, which allows you to check whether someone has a violent past. Police have the discretion to tell you if records show you may be at risk. To make an application, visit your local police station.

I need legal help with domestic violence - what shall I do now?

Under the Family Law Act 1996, many victims of domestic abuse can apply for court orders against their abusers. The nature of your situation will decide whether police can use criminal law against a violent person. However, you can still use civil law to get the protection you need.

The government introduced the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 to give you greater protection and support, as well as more rights. This act of law also gives the police and other agencies the tools they need to get to the bottom of domestic abuse crimes.

If you need further help, you should get in touch with an independent domestic violence adviser, or a solicitor who is experienced in family law.

If you or someone close to you is a victim of domestic violence, our family law solicitors can give you all of legal help and advice you need. For more information, please contact First4Lawyers now.

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