Family Law advice during lockdown, how to access legal services if you are facing domestic abuse
Updated: Jan 21
The impact of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) and the enforced restrictions on our everyday lives have been vast. No one, however, has been more affected than the families and children that are exposed to domestic violence.
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence or abuse is a pattern of controlling and aggressive behaviour. The abuse can be physical, emotional, psychological, financial, or sexual. Many organisations offer practical help and assistance, however, if you wish to seek legal protection you should talk to a specialist family lawyer about the range of injunctive remedies available in the family court.
In this article, our family law solicitors have provided some guidance on what you could do if you or someone you know is facing domestic abuse.
What is the law on domestic violence in the UK?
Domestic violence in the United Kingdom is a criminal offence. Domestic abuse, or domestic violence, is defined as any incident of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence, or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of their gender or sexuality. The law says that domestic violence or abuse can be physical, psychological, sexual, financial, or emotional.
The Government restrictions have said everyone must stay at home, what about victims of domestic violence?
If you are a victim of domestic violence, this does not apply to you. If you feel unsafe in your home due to domestic violence, you can leave your home without a penalty being imposed upon you.
Are refuges staying open?
If you need to leave your home because you have suffered domestic violence you can go to a refuge as these will remain open. You are also allowed to go to any other safe place, such as the home of a friend, family member, or neighbour.
I can’t call 999 in case someone hears me, what should I do?
By pressing ‘55’ after calling the emergency services, the police will respond. Silent solution 55 is the name given to the initiative that allows people to call 999 even when they are not able to speak. If you feel it is too dangerous for you to speak, the call will be put through and you will be asked to press 55 if you are in danger.
In the event I need to leave my home, can I take my children with me?
Yes, if you need to leave your home due to domestic violence or if you are concerned about the safety of you or your children, you can take your children with you when you leave.
Are there advice services I can access throughout lockdown?
Several charities and advice services can provide advice and guidance to those suffering from domestic violence, Women’s Aid is continuing to provide the following services:
Live Chat is currently available Monday to Friday 10am-12pm. This could be a safer way to access some support; particularly if an abuser might also be in the property so it would be unsafe to make a telephone call.
Email Service is still operating and can also provide support.
Survivors' Forum is an online resource for survivors of domestic abuse. The Survivors’ Forum can be accessed 24/7. This is a place where survivors can support each other and share their experiences.
We understand that it can be a daunting and upsetting prospect coming to talk about issues of domestic violence and abuse. Our team of expert family lawyers will adopt a sympathetic, though robust approach and will help to make you feel as comfortable and as relaxed as possible when meeting with us to discuss this difficult issue.
We will also talk to and involve other agencies such as the police and counsellors if we believe this would help. We will fully advise you in respect of costs, discuss your options and what outcome you can expect if you decide to make an application to the court.
Why Choose Rose & Rose?
Our experienced and understanding team is here to help you. We will work with you to ensure the best possible outcome.
We can provide you with a fixed fee for this service so you will know exactly what costs you will need to pay.
Please contact us on +442089747490 or firstname.lastname@example.org