31 December 2020 | Insight

Domestic Abuse: What are your options?

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A surge in domestic abuse cases during lockdown

If you believe you are in immediate danger, and you are able to, you should call 999 for police assistance. If you have called 999 and are unable to speak for whatever reason, dial 55 on your handset and this will alert the operator you are in danger and are unable to speak.

A surge in domestic abuse cases during lockdown

Since the beginning of lockdown in March 2020, calls to domestic violence helplines have increased by 120% while traffic to their websites has tripled. Spending all but one hour of the day within an abusive household is the devastating situation now being faced by many victims. Also, it’s not just adults at risk; vulnerable children may also find themselves in danger following the government’s lockdown rules, with social services reporting less than 10% of at-risk children attended school before the Easter holidays.

Source: The Guardian 

What is domestic abuse and what action can someone take?

Domestic abuse is defined as an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, emotionally degrading or violent behaviour. It includes psychological as well as physical abuse and is not specific to a person’s gender or age.

There are two routes that can be taken when dealing with domestic abuse. You can involve the police or take civil action. Whatever route you choose, our team of experienced, highly effective lawyers at Atkins Dellow can help you to navigate the process with extreme sensitivity. We will be by your side every step of the way to ensure that you achieve the right outcome.

Criminal action

Domestic abuse is a criminal offence and therefore you may feel that you want to seek the assistance of the police.

The police are there to help you and if necessary remove the perpetrator from your home. The police can warn your abuser to stay away, stop contacting you and have the power to arrest them if they continue to make contact with you.

If your abuser has committed a crime, the police will make an arrest and investigate the crime. Any evidence is sent to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and they will decide if there is enough evidence to charge your abuser with a criminal offence.  At the end of any court case, whether your abuser is found guilty or not guilty, the CPS can obtain a restraining order from the judge which will prohibit any further threatening or intimidating behaviour.

Our team at Atkins Dellow can help you throughout the entire judicial process, taking the stress out of managing the police case and any subsequent court case.

Civil action

Here at Atkins Dellow, we are here to protect you. If you choose to take civil action, Atkins Dellow can obtain non-molestation and occupation orders. These can be obtained in an emergency if necessary and if the abuser breaches the order they can be arrested and charged by the police.

We have vast experience dealing with these matters both criminally and civilly. Whatever situation you find yourself in, please do not hesitate to get in touch and seek assistance at the outset. Atkins Dellow is committed to helping its clients facing emotionally challenging times.

Please note this article is provided for general information purposes only to clients and friends of Atkins Dellow LLP. It is not intended to impart legal advice on any matter. Specialist advice should be taken in relation to specific circumstances. Whilst we endeavour to ensure that the information in this article is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy, and Atkins Dellow LLP does not accept any liability for error or omission.

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