Domestic Abuse Help
Herrington Carmichael advise on the legal protections that can be put in place and can point you in the direction of local organisations that offer legal aid.
The family team at Herrington Carmichael are experienced in dealing with all matters in relation to domestic abuse.
We pride ourselves on being highly approachable, sensitive, and supportive during what can be a difficult and emotional time.
If you believe you, or your children, are suffering or at risk of suffering any form of domestic abuse or control from a family member or partner, or cohabitee, there are legal protections which can be put in place.
We offer a free 15 minute consultation and then a meeting can be arranged in any of our London, Camberley or Wokingham offices.
What is domestic abuse?
Domestic abuse accounts for 15% of all violent incidents and one incident of domestic abuse is reported to the police every minute. Even more incidents are never reported to the police – it has been stated that a woman is assaulted on average 35 times before calling the police for the first time. Although domestic abuse sufferers are predominantly women, it is becoming increasingly common for us to see male clients who need protection, and it is not limited to romantic relationships, it can also occur between family members.
Types of domestic abuse
Domestic abuse may manifest itself in a number of ways, including (but not limited to):
- Emotional abuse, such as threatening to harm the other party or their loved ones, constant criticism and humiliation, jealousy and isolation, and threats to damage personal possessions
- Psychological abuse, such as stalking, gas lighting and bullying
- Coercive control, which is a pattern of intimidation, degradation, isolation and control with the use or threat of physical or sexual violence
- Financial abuse, such as controlling money or choosing to spend money on themselves rather than the family
- Online or digital abuse, including monitoring social media profiles or emails, using GPS locators or spyware to know where the other person is at all times, abuse over social media and sharing intimate photos or videos without your consent
- Sexual abuse, including forcing the other party to have sex, or withholding it, and controlling or refusing contraception
- Physical abuse, such as hitting, pushing, strangling, burning or using weapons
Am I being abused?
Very often, people in controlling or coercive relationships do not realise they are in them. This is one of the ways that perpetrators control the situation and are usually very good at it. Some of the signs of recognising that you are in an abusive relationship include arguing frequently, feeling undermined or disrespected, feeling as though you cannot express your feelings, feeling as if you are walking on eggshells, feeling isolated and alone, and feeling frightened.
The greatest risk of domestic violence is at separation. We often see that when someone takes the decision to separate from their partner and leave a controlling relationship, the animosity increases, and the risk of violence could increase. It is therefore important that you speak to professionals who have experience dealing with incidence of violence and abuse, who can understand the signs from an early stage, and help you take steps to protect yourself.
How to stop Domestic Abuse?
Tips for protecting yourself and your family:
- If an argument between you and your ex-partner starts to build; breathe and count to 10. Try your best not to retaliate as that could inflame the situation. Instead; walk away and go into another room in the house. If you are able to do so, leave and go for a walk – this will allow time for the situation at home to diffuse.
- Have a think about the people you could contact; whether friends or family who might be able to get help for you if you are unable to do so yourself. Make sure you are readily able to make contact with them by keeping your phone to hand and charged up!
- Ask friends or family nearby if you can stay with them during periods of isolation (provided this is safe to do so).
- If the situation at home has escalated and you are at serious risk of violence or harm, or a child is at risk, call 999 and ask to speak to police.
Domestic abuse legal support
There are injunctions which you can take out through the family courts in order to protect yourself and minor children. These are:
- Non-molestation order – The court can grant an order prohibiting your ex-partner from using or threatening violence against you or instructing a third party to do so. A non-molestation order carries with it an automatic power of arrest and therefore if your ex-partner was to breach a non-molestation order, there would be the power for the police to arrest them.
- Occupation order – An occupation order can oust a party from the family home. When considering making an occupation order, the court will take into account the threat of the violence or abuse which you are suffering and will balance the harm that could be caused to you in allowing your ex-partner to continue living in the property against the harm that they are likely to suffer by being ousted from their own property.
Domestic Abuse Legal Aid
The family team at Herrington Carmichael are experienced in dealing with family law injunctions should you require advice and assistance. Where appropriate, we can also point you in the direction of legal aid or local charities who support the victims of domestic abuse. We have included contact details of local organisations below.
Free 15-minute consultation
Request a video call or phone call with a member of the family team...
Key contacts for local organisations
Offers a free 24 hour National Domestic Violence Helpline and an online guide ‘The Survivors Handbook’. Children may also benefit from visiting their kids’ website called ‘The Hideout’. Provides a list of regional centres and services – see the Domestic Abuse Directory on the home page.
Tell: 0808 2000 247
Works in partnership with Women’s Aid to provide advice and support to anyone experiencing domestic violence. Provides safe, emergency accommodation throughout the UK. Website offers a useful ‘help for children’ section.
Tell: 0808 2000 247
(Men’s advice line and enquiries)
Support and advice for male victims of domestic violence, information for their families and for men who want to change their violent and abusive behaviour.
Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday 10am– 1pm and 2pm–5pm.
Tell: 0808 801 0327
We do not offer legal aid at Herrington Carmichael. However, you may wish to contact one of the following if you think that you are eligible:
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We are solicitors in Camberley, Wokingham and London. In 2019, Herrington Carmichael won ‘Property Law Firm of the Year’ at the Thames Valley Business Magazines Property Awards, ‘Best Medium Sized Business’ at the Surrey Heath Business Awards and we were named IR Global’s ‘Member of the Year’. We are ranked as a Leading Firm 2023 by Legal 500 and Alistair McArthur is ranked in Chambers 2022.