The issue of domestic abuse is a long-standing concern within the UK. Obviously with the current lockdown, many domestic abuse campaigners remain concerned about the impact this will have on those victims of domestic abuse.
Guidance offered by the House of Commons suggests that despite the lockdown people are able to leave their homes to access critical services or to avoid a risk of illness or harm.
Whilst it is a good thing that people don’t have to be trapped at home, the reality is that it is extremely hard to escape from domestic abuse.
The first step is to access support. The National Domestic Abuse helpline has recently reported a 25% increase in calls. The government have also set out a detailed list of support services online. Assistance from the police can be sought to provide initial protection.
But what then? What steps can be taken to help protect those people who are the victims of domestic abuse?
If you consult a family lawyer there are 3 types of court order that typically can be obtained; a Non Molestation Orders, an Occupation Order, or a combination of both
A Non Molestation Order will protect the victim against any further abuse as the same places very strict limitations on what the abuser can or cannot do. The Order also can have a Power of Arrest attached which means any breach can result in the individual being taken into custody by the police and presented to the Courts. This type of Order requires an urgent application to the court and as victims should be aware, this can be done on the same day.
The other type of Order is an Occupation Order. This is particularly important in cases where the parties are still living together. Strictly speaking, both will have a right of occupation in the home, but it is clearly inappropriate for both parties to remain in that property where there is a risk of domestic abuse. Occupation Orders are Orders to exclude one party from the property. They can be made alongside Non Molestation Orders and therefore are a good tool to protect a victim.
The court can also order a party to continue to pay household bills so as to ensure the victim has a roof over their head.
It is important for any victim of domestic abuse to know there is the vital protection out there and that the help they need is easily accessible with the assistance of a qualified family lawyer.