Sean McNally
Partner, Solicitor & Joint Head of Family
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Date Published:08 Apr 2020 Last Updated:17 Oct 2021

Domestic Violence – Keeping you and your children safe during lockdown

Family Law

Stay at home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives”- The Government restrictions have tightened over recent weeks and people are now only allowed to leave their home to go food shopping, collect medicine, exercise or go to work. These restrictions place those who are experiencing or feel at risk of domestic violence, and their children, at heightened risk. Sadly, some people will find that they are being forced to isolate with their abuser.

For those that are subjected to domestic violence or feel that they are at risk, it is vital to remember that you are not alone and there is help and advice available.

What is domestic violence?

The Civil Prosecution Service relies on the Government’s definition of domestic violence which is “any incident of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those ages 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of their gender or sexuality”. This definition can encompass, but is not limited to the following types of abuse:

  • Psychological
  • Physical
  • Sexual
  • Financial
  • Emotional

What to do if you’re a victim of domestic violence?

If you believe that you are a victim of domestic violence or at risk of becoming a victim, there are many services available which can help you, as outlined below. If you are concerned about your children being exposed to and/or living with domestic violence, you can find advice and guidance on the CAFCASS website. For CAFCASS, the safety of your children is paramount and the impact of domestic violence on your children will be their key focus. Please find CAFCASS’ recent advice here.

Contact the Police – If you feel you are in immediate danger please call 999. If you find you are unable to talk on the phone, call 999 and then press 55. This will enable the police to assist you without having to speak with you. Please be assured that despite COVID-19 restrictions, the police are still taking robust action to protect all victims.

National Domestic Abuse Helpline (“NDAH”) – If you are worried about yourself, a friend or a loved one during this time, the NDAH’s website provides helpful support and guidance. In addition, they have a 24 hour helpline, that anyone can contact – 0808 2000 247 (free of charge).

Woman’s Aid and the Men’s Advice LineWomen’s Aid provides a live chat service and advice specifically designed for the current pandemic. The Men’s Advice Line is set up to assist male victims of domestic violence and they can be contacted on 0808 8010 327.

How can we help?

Ellis Jones’ experienced matrimonial department can advise you on the legal options available when seeking protection from an abuser. There are two types of civil injunction orders that can be made in the family court:

Occupation Order – This type of order regulates the occupation of the family home. It can be used to exclude a person (your abuser) from a property and the surrounding area or enforce a person’s right to remain in a property. It can also divide up a property so that you are not in the same space as your abuser, at the same time.

Non-Molestation Orders – This type of order prohibits a person (your abuser) from using or threatening to use violence as well as from using intimidating or harassing behaviour. It can also prohibit a person from encouraging another to behave in that manor.

It is possible to apply for both types of orders at the same time. Our focus in any situation involving domestic violence is to first and foremost ensure the safety of those concerned but also to focus on the long term implications for both parties. We want to ensure that you and your children are protected during and after this pandemic.

If you feel you, your friend or loved one is suffering from or at risk of domestic violence, please do not hesitate to get in contact with one of our expert Family Law Solicitors on 01202 636223 or by email to family@ellisjones.co.uk