Domestic Violence

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Domestic Violence is defined as any incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour between people over the age of 16, who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality.

It may not always be in the form of physical attack, as domestic violence implies any sort of behaviour that may intimidate a victim.

Sometimes, victims feel so abused that they may flee or take legal steps to ensure that they and their children are protected. On the other hand, there are many who feel too exhausted or threatened to speak out about the abuse.

If you have been victimised by a family member, in any way whatsoever, you can seek an injunction from the Court of law. An injunction is an order issued by the Court that restricts a person’s actions.

There is no legal definition of domestic violence. However, the Government defines domestic violence as:

“Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. This can encompass but is not limited to the following types of abuse:

  • Psychological abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Financial abuse
  • Emotional abuse

Controlling behaviour is: a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.

Coercive behaviour is: an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.

This definition, which is not a legal definition, includes so called ‘honour’ based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage, and is clear that victims are not confined to one gender or ethnic group.”

A non-molestation order

A non-molestation order is a type of injunction which can protect you and any relevant child from violence or harassment. You can obtain a non-molestation order against someone who has been physically violent or against someone who is harassing, intimidating or pestering you. You can apply for a non-molestation order even if you still want to (or have to) live with your abuser.

When deciding whether to grant a non-molestation order the court will consider all of your circumstances, including the need to secure the health, safety and well-being of you and any children. You need to show the court how your health, safety or well-being or that of your children would be at risk if you are not granted the order.

If you own the home or the tenancy to the home in your sole name, you are not married to your abuser and your abuser has no legal entitlement to your home then the non-molestation order can also stop your abuser from coming to the home.  Otherwise, if you want to stop the abuser from coming to your home then you need to apply for an occupation order.

An occupation order

An occupation order is a type of injunction which deals with who lives at the family home. An occupation order can:

  • Order your abuser to move out of the home or to stay away from the home
  • Order your abuser to keep a certain distance away from the home
  • Order your abuser to stay in certain parts of the home at certain times (for example it can order him/ her to sleep in a different bedroom)
  • Order your abuser to allow you back into the home if he/ she has locked you out
  • Order him/ her to continue to pay the mortgage, rent or bills

When deciding whether to grant an occupation order the court will consider a number of factors including:

  • The housing needs and resources of you, your abuser and any children
  • The financial resources of you both
  • The likely effect any order, or not making an order, will have on you, your abuser and any children
  • Your and your abuser’s behaviour to one another

The court may also look at the harm that you and any children might suffer if the order is not granted and the harm that your abuser and any children might suffer if it is.

The type of occupation order you can apply for, how long the order will last and the factors the court will consider depend on your and your abuser’s legal entitlement to the home.  Before making your application we would strongly advise you to seek legal advice.

The court can make both a non-molestation order and an occupation order if it is appropriate.

We understand that being victimised in any way can be quite disturbing and that obtaining some form of protection from the Court can be a relief.

At Farani Taylor, the experienced Family Law team deal with such delicate issues on a daily basis. We understand the emotional turmoil a family breakdown can cause. We deal with every case with the utmost sensitivity, with the safety of your family being our main priority. You can be assured that your situation will be dealt with in a safe, professional and efficient manner.

If you are affected by any of these circumstances, or you have a question relating to Non-Molestation Order or Injunction or any other part of Family Law, please contact us in the strictest confidence today on 0207 242 1666.