Domestic Violence Cases Continue to Rise
In our blog on 1 April, we reported that Domestic Violence cases were up by 20% compared to the pre-lockdown period. The Law Society has today revised that figure – cases of Domestic Violence are now are up to a 25% increase, which is a worrying statistic. That means in just one week, we have seen a further 5% increase and there will be many cases that are going unreported.
This is concerning and people are naturally worried about the risk that domestic abuse victims are being placed in during lockdown, particularly if their abuser lives in their household (which will be in the majority of cases). Many are trapped in what is an incredibility frightening and volatile position.
Domestic violence does not have to be physical or threatened physical violence, it can be psychological, emotional, financial and include attempts to intimidate or harass. If this applies to you, or you know of somebody who it applies to, it may be appropriate for legal advice to be sought and an application to court made for an injunction.
In family law, there are two types of injunction that can be applied for in circumstances of domestic abuse and they can be used to protect both adults and children at risk of harm:
- Non-molestation orders – this prevents a perpetrator from using or threatening violence, intimidating, harassing or pestering the victim. The length of such order is at the discretion of the court, but they are usually in place anywhere between 3 and 12 months. If a non-molestation order is breached, the police can be called as they have the power to arrest the perpetrator.
- Occupation orders – regulates who is permitted to live in the family home and can involve the perpetrator being prevented from returning to the house.
Despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the court system is still operating to deliver justice and offer protection to domestic abuse victims. Do not think that your case will not be dealt with – it will be. If you do require legal advice (or know of somebody who does), we will do our very best to guide and support you. The courts are still open to deal with the most urgent applications and wherever possible hearings may be conducted by video link or telephone. There is no court fee to make an application for an injunction in circumstances of domestic abuse.
If you feel that you or a child are at an immediate risk of violence or abuse then always call 999. If you cannot speak or it would be dangerous to do then dial 55 to alert the operator. The police can usually assist by putting emergency safeguards in place, but do not forget your legal right to apply for civil injunctions if you feel you need protection for a longer term.
Do you need help?
In the UK, the domestic violence helpline is 0808 2000 247. Alternatively, if you would like to discuss your legal options please call the Maguire Family Law Team and we will do everything possible to help you today.