Domestic Violence Solicitor London
According to the Mayor of London’s Office for Policing and Crime, there was a 63% increase in domestic abuse offences during the period 2011 to 2018. The number of people killed in the UK capital as a result of domestic assault also trebled from nine people to 29 in 2018. If you are facing issues around domestic violence, it is crucial that you can access the right support and help.
The very first port of call if you have been attacked is the police. They can help you to get away from immediate danger, seek medical assistance and work to prosecute the perpetrator.
However, you will have a lot to think about after the initial situation has been resolved, including how to protect yourself and your children from further abuse from the perpetrator as you begin planning your journey towards recovery.
This is where specialist domestic violence solicitors can help. You can talk through your situation with a compassionate, knowledgeable family law expert who can advise you on your next steps, support you in reporting an injury to the police and advise you on how to secure legal protection or make a claim against your attacker.
Why choose Shortlands as your domestic violence solicitor?
Shortlands is a London-based family law firm that has more than a decade of experience handling sensitive cases involving domestic abuse, as well as international divorce, conflicts, financial settlements, prenuptial agreements and much more. It is vital that you choose a solicitor whom you trust during this difficult time and one that can also help you access other forms of vital support.
Shortlands can offer emergency legal and practical advice on how to keep you and any children involved safe from harm. There are a number of legally binding procedures that can be put in place to protect you, such as a non-molestation order or occupation order. The firm can also guide you through the divorce process and help you resolve any financial, employment or business issues. Your solicitor will talk you through the options and help you take back control and work out what happens next.
Types of protection from domestic violence
A domestic assault solicitor can help you seek legal protection from a domestic violence perpetrator using one or more options. If you are at immediate risk from someone violent, your solicitor can act fats to obtain a court injunction barring the person from making any form of contact with you. Your lawyer can also liaise with the police to ensure that the right levels of security and protection are put in place to help you feel safe again, whether that is in your own home, that of a family member or in a secure location elsewhere.
A non-molestation order is an injunction that prevents a named person, or anyone else acting on their behalf, from molesting, threatening violent behaviour or carrying out any form of abuse towards the holder of the order. The wording can be tailored to reflect your exact situation and can list specific behaviours that have already occurred, or that the holder is concerned may happen in association with any actions already experienced.
The order enables the police to offer an additional layer of protection, as any breach of its terms will automatically be considered a criminal offence and the person, or people involved can be arrested.
An occupation order states who is allowed to live in the family home of the person who has been assaulted and who is allowed to enter. It allows you to return to your home without fear of reprisals or attacks.
Its terms can be quite broad, ranging from preventing the abuser from entering the premises altogether or simply barring them from certain parts of the property or real estate. It can also stop someone who has left the property from coming within a stated distance of it.
As with the non-molestation order, the wording can be written to accommodate specific circumstances to ensure maximum protection. An occupation order can also help someone get back into a property that they have been locked out of and can order the transfer of a tenancy into someone’s name for their own protection. A power of arrest can also be added to the order by the lawyer so that the police can arrest anyone who breaches it and take them into custody.
Frequently asked questions about domestic abuse
Here are a few questions that domestic violence solicitors are commonly asked. If you cannot find the answers you are looking for, please get in touch with Shortlands – family law firm and domestic violence solicitor London.
What can be classified as domestic abuse?
Physical abuse can involve a number of forms of attack, including punching, kicking, biting and slapping. This is, however, not the only form of domestic abuse, and many victims do not realise at first that they are being coerced or abused.
Sexual abuse is extremely serious and distressing. Verbal abuse can be extremely distressing, especially when it is designed to target self-confidence. This can involve name-calling, put-downs, humiliation, ‘gaslighting’ – where someone is led to doubt themselves and their own version of events – or destructive criticism.
Then, there is financial abuse, when one person controls another’s access to money and the resources they need for daily life. A domestic abuser can also harass someone by watching, following or bombarding them with unwanted attention. Or they can exercise control over a person’s access to other people, including family and friends in a bid to isolate them and make them more reliant on their abuser.
The important thing to note is that you don’t have to wait until someone physically attacks you for their actions to be classified as domestic abuse. If you have any concerns about your own experiences or those of someone you know, seek help as soon as you possibly can. Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone, whatever gender, age, sexual orientation, religion or ethnicity they may be.
What is the punishment for domestic assault? How long is jail time for domestic violence?
The term ‘domestic abuse’ covers a wide range of violent, coercive or controlling behaviours, therefore there is not a single punishment or sentence that is applicable to all such cases.
Rather, the prosecution services and the judge will decide on each case individually, applying appropriate punishments and jail sentences as applicable to the crimes being considered. As the victim, you will be kept fully informed as to the progress of the case.
The court will consider a number of factors before deciding on the punishment or length of jail time, including the interests of both the victim and the wider public, the likelihood of the offences happening again and any mitigating circumstances or show of remorse. The punishment can also incorporate a level of compensation for the victim, along with any jail time or community-based sanctions agreed upon.
Does domestic violence stay on your record?
Someone who has been formally convicted of domestic violence conviction can find it hard to find employment in certain sectors. This is especially true for jobs working with vulnerable people, such as children or older people, where a full DBS check is required. Even an arrest for domestic violence can become part of a person’s permanent record and so negatively affect their future in many ways.
There can also be additional requirements to disclose a domestic violence record in certain, sensitive situations, for example, those involving immigration or arrangements around fostering or adopting children. Anyone can find out whether or not a person has a history of domestic violence record under the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, otherwise known as ‘Clare’s Law’. Contact your local police for more information.
Need help from a Family solicitor in London?
If you are or know someone experiencing domestic abuse of any kind, feel free to contact Shortlands for a confidential, no-obligation initial consultation. Our compassionate team can talk you through your options, discuss likely processes, outcomes and fees and guide you towards the next steps. To find out more about the services available, contact the team in complete confidence today via phone or online.