What is domestic violence?
There is no one definition of domestic violence but in broad terms in the law it is described to include any form of physical, sexual or emotional abuse which takes place within the context of a close relationship. In this sense, current partners are clearly included; however, ex-partners have also been considered a part of the definition of a close relationship irrespective of gender.
What is the need to protect people from becoming victims?
One of the main considerations of domestic violence in practice is the impact such abuse could have on the victim. Taking that into consideration, the government has focused on protecting those individuals and the rest of their families.
What are the remedies under the law?
The remedies themselves can be seen as two types and relief is available under the family law, the first being a non-molestation order and secondly an occupation order. A combination of the two is also available where appropriate.
Those orders are only imposed where the judge is satisfied on balance of probabilities that judicial intervention is required to control the behaviour which is the subject matter of the complaint before the court.
Occupation orders are orientated towards protecting the ones remaining in the home. Therefore, typically they are granted to exclude the perpetrator of violence from the home fully or from a defined part.
1. Where the applicant is entitled by virtue of beneficial estate or interest or other home rights;
2. Where the applicant is not entitled but the respondent is;
3. Where neither the applicant nor the respondent is entitled.
An occupation order may be applied for with or in the absence of family proceedings.
The latter orders regulate the occupation of the family home.
Non-molestation order is an order in the form of an injunction containing one or both conditions:
1. Provision prohibiting the respondent from molesting another person who is associated with the respondent
2. Provision prohibiting the respondent from molesting a relevant child.
Who can benefit from the orders?
Both types of orders can be made in relation to ‘associated persons’ and ‘relevant children’. For the purposes of these orders associated person has a very wide definition, designed to provide protection in almost any family or domestic living arrangements.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, please speak to our Family Law or Crime department on 020 8543 3302 or 020 8767 0800.
A 24 hour helpline is available to deal with emergency cases: 0788 303 1585