Domestic abuse is widely recognised as a real and serious problem both by the Police, Children’s Services and the Courts. If you are suffering you must get help.
If you have been wrongly accused you need help too.
The ambit of domestic abuse has been widened: it is not now confined to physical violence. It includes threatening behaviour, sexual, emotional and psychological abuse, but, crucially, also now includes controlling behaviour towards a spouse, partner or children.
Abuse – including coercive and controlling behaviour – is a criminal offence. The Police will take your complaint seriously, and this can (provided evidence is available to support a prosecution) lead to a criminal conviction.
You can also apply to the Family Court for an injunction to prevent your partner, former partner or relative coming into contact with you or coming near your address. Breach of such an injunction is also a criminal offence which can result in a jail sentence of up to 5 years.
As a team, we are keen to help anyone caught in the dreadful web of domestic abuse and we will always prioritise anyone who comes to us in fear for themselves or their children.
If you suffer abuse
Do not delay
The longer you leave it before consulting a solicitor (or reporting to the Police if you prefer) the less the Court may appreciate your need for urgent protection.
Gather and preserve evidence
You can do this by, for example:
- Taking photographs on your mobile phone of injuries or property damage.
- Recording (on your mobile phone) abusive telephone calls or abuse made from outside your property, when you are inside.
- Asking anyone who saw or heard abuse to provide you with a signed and dated letter setting out what they witnessed.
- Telephoning a relative or friend as soon as you can after an incident; ask them to write down what you are going to say and tell them what has happened.
- Reporting abuse to your GP.
If you have been wrongly accused of abuse
Do not delay
Consult a solicitor because you may be faced with a Court hearing very rapidly.
Preserve evidence in your favour
- Record telephone calls on your mobile.
- Ask friends and family who may have witnessed events which favour you, to act as your witnesses.
- If a distressing scene occurs with your former partner and there was no witness, phone a friend or family member as soon as you can; tell them what happened and ask them to write down what you tell them.
- And, crucially, don’t try and contact your former partner or his or her family or go near to where he or she lives or works.
If this affects you, we urge you to consult a solicitor – most will give you a free emergency appointment so that you can explore your options and this can be done in total secrecy.
Don’t ever put up with abusive behaviour.