Domestic Violence

Our team specialise in domestic violence and abuse cases and all the members of our Family Law team completely understand the problems and the effects that domestic violence has on children, dependants, and on your life outside the home, and at work.

Family and matrimonial law Ridley & HallAs a team we also work with and support a number of Domestic Violence charities around the country.

Our Director, Emma Pearmaine is the Chair of Trustees for The Corporate Alliance Against Domestic Violence.

We will work with you to try and ensure your safety and that of your children.

FAQ

What is Coercive Control?

This is now a criminal offence under the Serious Crime Act 2015. The Act now creates a new offence of controlling and or coercive behaviour in intimate or familial relationships (S.76).

In 2015 The Home Office Statutory Guidance issued a guidance framework which helps us to understand what constitutes coercive controlling behaviour which includes but is not limited to;

  • Isolating a person from friends or family
  • Depriving them of their basic needs
  • Monitoring their time
  • Monitoring a person via online communication tools or using spyware
  • taking control over aspects of their everyday life, such as where they can go, who they can see, what to wear and when they can sleep;
  • depriving them of access to support services, such as specialist support or medical services;
  • repeatedly putting them down such as telling them they are worthless;
  • enforcing rules and activity which humiliate, degrade or dehumanise the victim;
  • forcing the victim to take part in criminal activity such as shoplifting, neglect or abuse of children to encourage self-blame and prevent disclosure to authorities;
  • financial abuse including control of finances, such as only allowing a person a punitive allowance;
  • threats to hurt or kill;
  • threats to a child;
  • threats to reveal or publish private information (e.g. threatening to ‘out’ someone).
  • assault;
  • criminal damage (such as destruction of household goods);
  • rape;
  • preventing a person from having access to transport or from working.

The Act recognises that controlling or coercive behaviour does not only happen in the home, the victim can be monitored by phone or social media from a distance. An important element of the new legislation is that the victim must have been made to fear violence on at least two occasions or adapt their everyday behaviour as a result of serious alarm or distress. A fundamental element is that the perpetrator knows or “ought to know” that it will have a serious effect on the victim.

Ridley & Hall regularly act for clients who are victims of coercive control and we know how single events of coercive and controlling behaviour don’t look serious when considered on their own merit, but when considered alongside a whole catalogue of events a very serious picture emerges for the victim who needs legal advice and also support from the police and which should result in prosecution.

Victims of Domestic violence and abuse are very brave. It takes great personal fortitude to live day in day out with both the threat and reality of domestic abuse and if you need to tell us about your circumstances WE WILL BELIEVE YOU. We can help to identify charities and organisations who can help you and we can secure the necessary Court Orders to help to keep you and your children safe from future harm and address any financial or housing needs you have.

What is Domestic Abuse?

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.”

Domestic abuse occurs across society, regardless of age, gender, race, sexuality, wealth, and geography, though the figures show that it consists mainly of violence by men against women.

Many abusers behave in ways that include more than one type of domestic violence, and the boundaries between some of these behaviours are often quite distorted.

There are different types of domestic abuse, however these can consist of:-

  • Emotional/Psychological – Emotional or psychological abuse can be verbal or nonverbal. Psychological abuse aims to chip away at the confidence and independence of victims. Emotional abuse includes verbal abuse such as shouting, name-calling, blaming and shaming, seclusion, intimidation, threats of violence and controlling behaviour.
  • Physical – There are a broad range of behaviours that come under the heading of physical abuse including actions such as punching; slapping; hitting; biting; pinching; kicking; pulling hair out; pushing; shoving; burning and strangling.
  • Sexual – Rape and sexual abuse is common in abusive relationships because an individual’s right to consent is likely to be ignored. Any situation in which an individual is forced to participate in unwanted, unsafe or degrading sexual activity is sexual abuse.
  • Economic/Financial abuse – Economic or financial abuse aims to limit a victim’s ability to access help.
  • ‘Honour’ based violence (HBV) is a form of domestic abuse which is perpetrated in the name of so called ‘honour’.
  • A forced marriage is a marriage that is performed under duress and without the full and informed consent or free will of both parties.
  • Elder abuse – This is where harm is done, or distress caused, to an older person within a relationship where there is an expectation of trust.
  • Stalking – While stalking may be perpetrated by strangers or acquaintances, stalking is most often committed against women by former or current partners.

Victims of Domestic violence and abuse are very brave. It takes great personal fortitude to live day in day out with both the threat and reality of domestic abuse and if you need to tell us about your circumstances WE WILL BELIEVE YOU. We can help to identify charities and organisations who can help you and we can secure the necessary Court Orders to help to keep you and your children safe from future harm and address any financial or housing needs you have.

How can the law protect you from Domestic Violence and Abuse?

We can represent you in applications for;

  • Non-Molestation Orders–These orders prohibit someone from being violent or threatening violence against you or your child. It also includes intimidation, harassment, or pestering. Breaching this order is a criminal offence.
  • Occupation Orders– This order relates to who can live in the family home and can also restrict access to the surrounding area as well.
  • Child Arrangement Orders – to protect your children from the perpetrator.
  • Financial Orders – to secure income and property for you and your children

We can also work with the Police whilst they investigate your case against the perpetrator.  Police forces are responding positively but charges and subsequent prosecutions continue to be challenging, generally because of evidential issues. Campaigners like Ridley & Hall and The Corporate Alliance Against Domestic Violence  continue to work tirelessly with the Police to overcome such challenges.

How much will it cost?

Legal aid may be available and subject to a means and merit test. We can do a legal aid assessment free of charge. If legal aid is not available we can discuss whether we can offer you a fixed fee or act on a private rate.

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