Domestic Abuse FAQs
What is domestic abuse?
Domestic abuse covers a range of behaviours and it is not limited to physical abuse. You are suffering domestic abuse if you have experienced controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading or violent behaviour. Domestic abuse can happen to anybody, so please remember that you are not alone.
If I have been / are being subjected to domestic abuse, what help is available to me?
If you fear for the safety of you or your children, your first point of contact should be the police. If you still require assistance, we can make an application to the Family Court for a Non-Molestation Order and / or an Occupation Order. We offer a free initial appointment to discuss the options available to you in detail.
A Non-Molestation Order is an Order with a power of arrest attached, which means that if it is breached, the person whom the Order is against will be arrested for breach of the Order. The Order will be tailored to your individual situation; however, it usually prevents the abuser from coming into contact with you, your home, and if appropriate, your children. It will also prevent the abuser from contacting you by any means or instructing somebody else to contact you on their behalf.
Occupation Orders are discussed below.
I am reluctant to proceed with Court proceedings, as I don’t want my abuser to know that I am making a Court application. Can anything be done to prevent them from knowing about my application?
The Courts understand this predicament, and therefore applications can be made on an urgent basis if they meet the criteria, without the other side being present. This means that the Court can consider your application, without the other side being present. The other side would need to be served with the Court Order if it was granted, however, by the time that they were made aware of the application, the Order would be in place, and you would have protection from the Court.
There is likely to be another Court hearing where the other side would be present, however, we can request measures such as a separate waiting room or screens if you are fearful of coming into contact with your abuser.
I want to leave my partner, but I have nowhere to go. What should I do?
In addition to a Non-Molestation Order, we can make an application for an Occupation Order. An Occupation Order is an Order which excludes the perpetrator from the family home, even if they are legally entitled to be there. We can make an application for an Occupation Order on your behalf, even if do not own the property, provided that it is your place of residence. These Orders are usually time limited, and usually last in the region of six months, although each case will be determined on its own merits. Although the Order is time limited, it allows you time to make alternative living arrangements or time to deal with the property if you are going through divorce proceedings for example.
Whether this Order is granted will of course be dependant upon the individual circumstances of your case. We can discuss the merits of making this application with you during your first free appointment.
Are protective Orders only available against a partner / ex-partner?
Applications for a Non-Molestation Order and an Occupation Order can be made against any person that is classed as an associated person. This includes partners, ex partners and the parent of your child. This also includes relatives, such as parents, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, cousin and stepparents.
I have been served with a Non-Molestation Order, however, the allegations that have been made against me are not true, what can I do?
We can represent you during the return date Court hearing, and we will put forward your side of the story to the Court. We strongly advise that you seek legal advice, as if findings are made against you, they could have serious consequences, and could even impact on the contact that you have with your children.
We can discuss the different options available to you during your initial free appointment.
How much will it cost to pursue an application for a Non-Molestation Order and / or Occupation Order?
We offer a 30-minute free appointment and therefore advice is available to everybody, free of charge.
We will always consider whether you will qualify for Legal Aid, and if you do, you will not have to pay any fees, as they will be covered by the Legal Aid Agency. There are some circumstances where you may qualify for Legal Aid, but the Legal Aid Agency ask for a contribution from you, which will be dependent upon your income and capital. We can discuss this in more detail with you.
If you do not qualify for Legal Aid, you will still qualify for our first free appointment, and we can discuss fees with you during your appointment.
Why should I contact Silks Solicitors?
We offer a free 30-minute appointment with you to discuss your options, and therefore you can speak with one of our experienced solicitors without having to make any commitments.
We have an experienced Family Law Team, which includes panel member solicitors, providing friendly and efficient advice. We pride ourselves at Silks Solicitors for putting the needs of our clients above and beyond everything else, and 97% of our clients would recommend us.
Please contact us on 0121 511 2233 if you wish to book an appointment to discuss this further. Please note that this is generic advice, and we recommend that you contact us so that we can tailor our advice to your individual circumstances.