Domestic Abuse & Injunctions

Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse is a blanket term, covering any form of abuse that a person has suffered at the hands of a family member or someone close. Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse; from elderly citizens to young children. Victims are often made to feel that they are to blame for the abuse and as a consequence they may not recognize that they are being abused. Abuse is experienced at all levels of society regardless of age, race, sexuality and wealth.

In certain cases, people who suffer through domestic abuse have been doing so for so long that they simply accept the situation and allow it to continue.

Brendan Fleming Solicitors are able to handle your case sensitively and confidentially, we can act quickly on your behalf to give tailored advice and apply for the appropriate protection for you and your children.

If you or your children are in immediate danger, or have been threatened, please call 999.

As well as physical violence, domestic abuse can take many forms such as emotional abuse, psychological, financial abuse and sexual abuse.

The government definition of domestic abuse is “Any incident of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are or have been intimidate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality”.

Brendan Fleming Solicitors can offer legal advice on the different injunctions available, depending on your circumstances, that can offer you and your children protection if you are a victim of abuse.

 

Injunctions

Injunctions are Court Orders telling a person not to do something or telling them to behave in a certain way.

Normally domestic abuse injunctions prohibit one person from using or threatening violence against their partner/family member and from communicating with them in any way. These types of injunctions are called non-molestation orders.

It is also possible to obtain a non-molestation order to protect a child form abuse from a member of their family but the courts will also consider whether there are other ways they can help protect the safety of children.

Domestic abuse injunctions can also order a person to leave a house or forbid them form going to their ex-partner’s/family member’s house or street where they live. These are called occupation orders.

 

Forced Marriage

A forced marriage is a marriage that takes place without the full consent of one or both parties. This includes cases where a person does not understand what they are consenting to, whether due to physical or cognitive difficulties.

This should not be confused with an arranged marriage. Forced marriage is internationally recognised as an abuse of a person’s human rights and cannot be justified for cultural or religious reasons. It may be considered a form of domestic abuse and child abuse.

Force marriage can mean:

  • That threats are made, this can take the form of physical and/or sexual violence
  • Financial abuse
  • Emotional and psychological abuse, for example, if a person is made to feel like they are bringing shame on their family

If you are concerned that you or someone you know is being forced into marriage or is at risk of being forced into marriage, speak to a family solicitor as soon as possible. There are things that can be done and legal processes put in place to protect people from marrying against their will.

A Forced Marriage Protection Order (FMPO) issued by the Court is one way of safeguarding a person who is about to be, or has been forced into an unwanted marriage. A FMPO can impose restrictions on the people who would try to force you to marry. Breaching a FMPO is now an offence punishable by up to 5 years in prison.

It is now also a crime to force someone to marry. If a parent is found guilty of forcing their child to marry they may be imprisoned for up to 7 years.

We have solicitors that are children's panel accredited and therefore can represent those under the age of 18 that may be affected by forced marriage. We can also provide advice to those that have been accused of forcing someone into marriage, including where you have been served with a Forced Marriage Protection Order.

Legal aid is available in some circumstances, where Legal Aid is not available we are able to give you a quote for the likely cost of the proceedings.

 

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

Female Genital Mutilation (‘FGM’) is the practice of deliberately cutting a female’s genitals without medical reason. This practice is illegal in the UK and has been since 1985. The law was updated in 2003 with the introduction of the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003. This also provided for a maximum custodial sentence of 14 years’ imprisonment for anyone convicted of FGM offences.

The practice of FGM was brought within the remit of the family courts in 2015 by the introduction of the Female Genital Mutilation Protection Order (‘FGMPO’). The purpose of this order is to protect potential or actual victims of FGM; the girl herself can apply for an order, or a third party (such as a Local Authority) can apply to the court for an FGMPO.
Legal Aid may be available for court applications relating to FGM, if you have any queries or concerns in relation to the above issues, then please contact us to sensitively and confidentially discuss this with you. Our solicitors are passionate about this area of law and can represent both parents (‘adult respondents’) and children within these proceedings.

Contact our experts and tell us about your case

0121 683 5000

Frequently asked questions

It is a crime for someone to use or threats violence against you and the police have a duty to help you.

If the police charge the person who has abused you, the case will be dealt with in the criminal courts rather than the civil courts.   You will not be legally represented in the criminal proceedings although you may get support from the police or witness support. If the abuser is found guilty the court will decide what sentence to give them. This can include making a “restraining order” which is like an injunction and will provide you with protection

If the abuser is found not guilty, you are unlikely to be protected, by the criminal courts, from further abuse.  You may want to consider applying for an injunction in this case.

Applications for domestic abuse injunctions are usually made urgently, it is possible to gain them on the same day.

In cases where there is immediate risk, it is possible to obtain an injunction without the other person knowing that you have gone to court.

If there is no immediate risk of further abuse then it may be a few weeks before you can apply for an injunction, this is to allow time to gain legal aid and give the other person notice.

In some cases, it is possible to obtain an injunction which orders your partner to leave your home or if they have already left to stop them from coming back.

The court can also make other orders about the house, such as who should pay the bills but these are not long term orders and norms only last for a year.

What orders the court can make will depend on your relationship with the other person and what rights you both have in the house.

We can help you if you have received an injunction.  As injunctions are dealt with quickly it is important you contact us straight away to give us as much time as possible to help you.  It is very important that you have a copy of the injunction order made.

If you have received an order which prohibits you from doing something it is important that you obey the terms of the order.  Breaching a non-molestation order is a criminal offence and you could be sent to prison, fined or given a community order.

If an occupation order has been made against you there may be a power of arrest attached to it which means if you break the order you could be arrested by the police and brought back to the court which made the order for them to decide the punishment.

If an order has been made in your absence there should be another court hearing date, probably in a few weeks’ time.

If you do not want to be bound by the terms of the injunction it is important you attend this court hearing.  If you do not the injunction is likely to continue until the dated stated on the order and the court can even make further orders in your absence.

Whether you qualify depends on your case and your financial circumstances.

Special eligibility rules apply in these sorts of cases and so it can be a lot easier to get legal aid to pay your legal costs if you are the victim of the abuse.

If you qualify then sometimes, in urgent cases, we may be able to grant you emergency legal aid, so that we can carry out urgent work.  In cases that aren’t urgent applications will be made to the legal aid agency for them to decide whether you qualify for legal aid, this normally takes at least 20 working days.

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