Domestic violence comes in several forms and is more widespread than many people think.

The broader term of “domestic abuse” is more commonly used in family law because it covers other types of behaviour than violence alone. This deals with “an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse”. It includes psychological, physical, sexual, emotional and financial

Controlling behaviour can arise in different forms where the effect is to make the person subordinate, dependent or isolated. Coercive behaviour can be actual or threats of humiliation or intimidation or other forms of abuse including forced marriage and a child having to witness abuse.

Coercive abuse became a criminal offence under the Serious Crimes Act in 2015 and is defined as the act of coercive or controlling behaviour in an intimate or family relationship.

Examples of coercive control can include:

• Isolation

• Threats

• Humiliation

• Physical abuse (sometimes)

What Can Be Done?

The family courts can grant two types of remedy orders to prevent domestic violence:

1) a Non-Molestation Order, which can either prohibit particular behaviour or general molestation by someone who has previously been violent or threatened violence towards the applicant and/or any relevant children

2) an Occupation Order, which can define or regulate rights of occupation of the home by the parties involved

Non-Molestation Orders are treated as high priority by HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS).

Think about making a will where there is a marriage, then the spouse will almost always be the main beneficiary under a will or stand to inherit under intestacy. Taking back control includes making a will, whether or not this is an interim measure, until a divorce is finalised whether married or not. It is vital that issues relating to ownership of property are included at this time to ensure that jointly owned property rights are preserved. A simple severance of joint tenancies will ensure that those assets pass to the ‘right’ people and that it is not left to chance.

We can assist in the production of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs), for both property and finance and health and welfare. An LPA may not be needed immediately but a property and finance LPA allows a trusted person to make decisions about how to spend your money and the way your property and affairs are managed. A health and welfare LPA ensures that a trusted person will be making decisions about your health in the case of incapacity.

Next Steps

If you believe that you are a victim of domestic abuse it is important that you know that something can be done about it and that the courts regard your protection as a priority. You may be eligible for Legal Aid but if you want us to work for you it is important to realise that we do not have a Legal Aid contract and can only act for you as a private client.

Get in touch

We can help you with all aspects of family law from children’s issues, financial issues, divorce and separation to pre-nuptial agreements.

01522 516 500