If you are, or have been, a victim of domestic violence, you should be never be afraid to seek help or justice.
Domestic violence affects both 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.
Should you want to pursue a resolution through the courts, First4lawyers will assign expert family solicitors to your case. They will have the experience to assist you during what will no doubt be a distressing time. Whatever your situation, you can count on us for the right legal help and advice.
What is domestic violence?
UK law describes domestic violence as "any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse” of people over 16 years of age. It can take place between those who are, or have been, “intimate partners or family members”. This is the case, regardless of sexuality or gender.
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 stepfamily.
There are different types of domestic abuse, including:
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?
Victims can be of any sex, race and age, culture and marital status. According to a report from the Women’s Commission, 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes. Yet while most victims are women, 1 in 6 men will also be victims of domestic violence at some point.
Statistics from UNICEF show that children who are witness to domestic violence are more likely to be neglected and/or abused themselves. Even if these children are not harmed directly, they may experience emotional and behaviour problems as a result.
I am a victim of domestic violence – what should I do?
You must be aware that 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:
- Talk to your doctor, midwife, or health visitor
- Call the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247
- Ring the Men’s Advice Line on 0808 801 0327
I need protection from domestic violence – what can I do?
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.