Domestic violence injunction
Domestic violence (domestic abuse) includes all kinds of behaviour that is meant to hurt or frighten you.
It can happen to anyone – women and men; gay, lesbian and heterosexual people; people of any age or background. It ranges from physical violence to cruel words and threats that are meant to scare you.
You do not have to tolerate this kind of behaviour.
There are laws to protect you and any children you have living with you. The police, Social Services and medial services can also help to keep you safe from harm.
If somebody in your family is abusing you there are practical and legal steps you can take to try to stop it happening again. However the problem started, you have a right not to experience violence or abuse.
Do not think it is your fault.
There are laws to protect you even if you feel that you started the argument or whatever led to the abuse. Domestic abuse is wrong, whatever the circumstances.
Whether this has happened for the first time or many times, you can get protection, even if you have already had help and then got together again with your partner.
Do not be afraid to ask for help again over problems with your partner. The law is still there to protect you.
You do not have to go all the way to a Court case if doing something else will protect you. However, if the police are involved, the case can go to Court even if you do not want it to, depending on how serious the crime was and how much evidence the police have.
First of all, make sure you and any children are safe. The police have a duty to protect you and any children and make sure you are safe. The police may arrest your partner, they may go with you to a safe place if you need to leave the home to be safe, and they can tell you about emergency housing and refuges.
If you leave home for a few days to go to a safe place, you will not lose the rights to your home.
If you have been abused in the past and think you are going to be abused again, plan an escape and make sure that you gather the following together in case you need to leave in a hurry:
- Passports (for you and any children);
- Benefit books or details;
- National insurance number;
- Savings books, bank details and money;
- Child health record books;
- Personal ID such as an official letter addressed to you at your home;
- Toys for any children;
- Photograph of your partner.
If you need assistance at some point after you have been abused, ring your local police station and speak to the community safety officer or domestic violence officer who will be able to advise you what to do.
If you want to talk to a confidential 24-hour national domestic violence free phone helpline, call 0808 2000 247.
If you have been injured, get it treated and recorded by your GP or hospital casualty department. Do not be embarrassed – tell them how the injury occurred and ask them to note it on your records. You may need to produce a medical report if your matter goes to Court.
Get a photograph of any visible injuries – you can use a digital or disposable camera, or even a photo booth.
Before any planned escape, if you have a joint account, think about asking the bank to put a stop on the account so that your partner cannot take out money without you. However, it will mean that you also will not be able take money out , so make sure that you have enough money to tide you over. If possible, set up a separate bank account before you go.
If you do not have any money of your own, call your local benefit office as you may be entitled to a crisis loan if you need it and you can apply for income support at the same time.
If you are being abused because you or your partner is using alcohol or drugs there are several organisations you can contact for help. Alcoholics Anonymous can help someone who is drinking too much. Al Anon can help the families of people who drink too much. If drugs are involved, contact your GP or health visitor.
There are various Court Orders available to you:
This is an order to tell your partner they must not use or threaten to use violence against you, or harass, pester or intimidate you (or encourage others to do so).
The order is written in wide terms to stop all forms of unpleasant behaviour, including, for example, threatening phone calls.
A breach of a non-molestation order is now a criminal offence in itself.
An occupation order can order any number of the following:
- One partner to leave the home;
- One partner to let the other return to the home;
- One partner not to return to the home;
- One partner to keep away from the home;
- One partner to stay out of parts of the home.
The Court can also make Orders about:
- Who will repair and maintain the home;
- Who will pay the mortgage or rent andother costs;
- Who can use an care for things in the home.
You cannot use an occupation order to change the ownership of a property – this should be done through separate legal proceedings.
If your partner breaks an order, the Judge can fine them or imprison them (sometimes for a few days, sometimes for months), depending on what they have done. The Judge can also extend the Court order.
Domestic Violence is a vast area of law with many different avenues for exploration.
Please read this leaflet in conjunction with the Community Legal Service information leaflet on Domestic Violence, Abuse and Harassment for more details on this subject.