Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence Solicitors Leeds

At Consilia Legal, we have a wealth of experience dealing with domestic violence/domestic abuse matters, and we are mindful of the sensitive nature and position our clients are in if subjected to domestic violence.

Domestic violence covers more than just physical violence and threats. It extends to sexual violence, emotional or psychological abuse, harassment or controlling behaviour.

There is no statutory definition of domestic violence, however the cross governmental definition is “any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality” (see Home Office: Domestic violence and abuse).

Controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate or dependent by:

  • Isolating them from sources of support;
  • Exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain;
  • Depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape;
  • Regulating their daily behaviour.

Coercive behaviour is an act or a pattern of acts comprising of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish or frighten the victim.

 

Domestic Violence – what can we do to help?

The courts have wide injunctive powers that can assist with protecting applicants from violence committed by or threatened by a person associated with the applicant.

We recommend that you report the matter to the police as soon as possible. The police can often take immediate action if necessary and they will usually record that there has been a domestic violence issue. The police will also provide you with details of domestic violence charities or a local women’s refuge if required.

We suggest that if you are suffering from domestic violence that you also take the following action:

  • Ensure a fully charged mobile phone is at hand in case of emergencies;
  • Know both the emergency and local police station telephone numbers (the local police can now be contacted by dialling 101) and the numbers of any relevant organisation, such as social services;
  • Know telephone numbers for trusted friends and relatives;
  • Suggest a code word to use when calling others to identify that the police should be alerted;
  • Ask trusted friends or relatives to check on you;
  • Keep any car fuelled and ready to go with a spare key at hand;
  • Keep a bag of essential items at a place of safety containing cash, clothing, important documents and telephone numbers;
  • Ensure your home is securely protected.

 

Protection Against Domestic Violence

Often the police do not wish to get involved in family matters and will advise you to obtain a Non-Molestation Order.

A Non-Molestation Order is a protective order which will prohibit an individual from molesting including that an individual must not:

  • Use or threaten violence towards you or any relevant children;
  • Intimidate, harass or pester you or any relevant children;
  • Contact you or any relevant children directly or indirectly;
  • Damage, attempt to damage or threaten to damage the family home or any property belonging to you;
  • Instruct or encourage another person to take any of the above actions.

You can also obtain a Prohibited Steps Order to prevent the individual from attending or coming within a specified distance of the family home, place of work and/or children’s school.

You may also need to consider obtaining an Occupation Order, which regulates who should live in a property if you and the abuser are still under one roof. This order can exclude the abuser from the home.

 

Occupation Order

If you are married and you own a property jointly or rent with your former spouse, you may find yourself in a difficult position where neither one of you wishes to leave the property. If you both own the property, or the tenancy agreement is in joint names then you both have equal rights to reside in the property.

If there is a domestic violence or child protection issue, then there are certain orders that you can apply for to get your former partner out of the property. An Occupation Order can be applied for and if successful the order will state who can live in the property or enter the surrounding area.

The court takes a strict approach when assessing if an Occupation Order is required. We are happy to provide you with further legal advice based on each person’s individual circumstances.

 

Emergency Protection Against Domestic Violence

If you require emergency protection, we would need you to come into the office as soon as possible to provide your detailed instructions. In emergency situations, we will ensure that the application is submitted to the court within the next 24 hours to ensure you get the necessary protection as a matter of urgency.

 

Legal Aid Relating to Domestic Violence Matters

Legal aid is available for domestic violence matters on a means-tested basis, however, we do not have a legal aid contract. We are more than happy to speak to you in the first instance and if you are eligible for legal aid we will refer you to a legal aid solicitor.

For more information speak to one of our experienced family solicitors on 0113 322 9222 or enquires@consilialegal.co.uk

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