According to Women’s Aid:-
Statistics which were reported in the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) suggests that 30% of women and 16.3% of men will experience domestic abuse during their lifetimes. (Office for National Statistics (2013). Focus on violent crime and sexual offences 2012/13 – Chapter 4: Intimate Personal Violence and Partner Abuse. Retrieved from: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171776_352362.pdf)
In 2009 Clare Wood was killed by an ex-partner who unknown to her had been violent to ex-partners. This brought about the introduction of the Domestic Abuse Disclosure Scheme (also known as Clare’s Law). This scheme allows the person in a new relationship (or their friends or family) the right to ask the police, whether that new (or existing) partner has a record of committing domestic abuse with ex-partners.
The Government defines domestic violence as:
“Any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality."
Again, the government defines controlling and coercive behaviour as:-
A common statement is “Why don’t they just leave?”
It is not so simple. One of the most dangerous times for a victim of domestic violence is when a victim attempts to leave. This equally puts any children at risk. There is also the fact that nearly a third (31%) of referrals to a refuge in 2013/14 were turned away because of lack of space.
So what options are available to victims of domestic violence?
If the police take action and the perpetrator continues to behave inappropriately or if the police cannot prosecute or take any action, then there are other options available within the civil realm. Civil applications for protective orders, such as Non-Molestation Orders (aka Injunctions) and Occupation Orders can be made.
A Non-Molestation Order is an Order which is applied for by the person being subjected to the domestic violence (“the Applicant”) whereby the other party (“the Respondent”):-
Identical Orders can be made in respect of children (if appropriate).
If a Non-Molestation Order is breached, it becomes a criminal offence, meaning the police can take action for any breaches.
In order to apply for a Non-Molestation Order you must be an 'associated person'. This means you and your partner or ex-partner must be related or associated with each other in one of the following ways:
(a) father, mother, stepfather, stepmother, son, daughter, stepson, stepdaughter, grandmother, grandfather, grandson, granddaughter of the respondent or of the respondent's spouse
(b) The brother, sister, uncle, aunt, niece, nephew or first cousin (whether of the full blood or of the half blood or by marriage or by civil partnership) of the respondent or of the respondent's spouse, former spouse, civil partner or former civil partner.
In the event you do not fall into the category to apply for a non-Molestation Order, then you could contact your local Police Station and request that they deal with the matter under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.
In addition to applying for a Non-Molestation Order, you may also consider applying for an Occupation Order. You may consider this if the property you are living in is owned jointly with the other person or if the tenancy is held jointly with another person.
The most usual Occupation Orders are requiring a violent partner to leave the home.
However they may include:-
(a) maintenance and repair
(b) payment of rent
(c) payment of mortgage
(d) payment of other outgoings
(e) payments to the party out of occupation
(f) use and possession of furniture, contents and provision as to taking good care of it
(g) keeping the home secure
These Orders tend to be coupled with an application for a Non-Molestation Order but can also be applied for independently.
For more information or advice about any of the above, contact the Family Law team based at each of our Leicester, Hinckley and Market Harborough offices, using the contact details below:
Leicester call us on 0116 254 8871.
Hinckley call us on 01455 639 900.
Market Harborough call us on 01858 467 181.
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