Domestic violence and coronavirus: How Foys Solicitors can help you

Foys Solicitors’ domestic abuse and injunction solicitors can help those in need.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are all adjusting to a new way of life. More of us are spending longer periods of time at home with family because of the Government guidance regarding social isolation. While many may relish the time at home with family, it’s important that we spare a thought for those who are experiencing domestic abuse. These stay-at-home guidelines are likely to reduce or even shut down routes to support and safety for victims who simply cannot find a means to separate from their perpetrator.

What is domestic abuse?

According to Women’s Aid, domestic abuse is an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour, including sexual violence. In the majority of domestic abuse cases, partners or ex-partners are the perpetrators. However, other family members or even carers can also be abusers.

Isolation is a tactic used by domestic abuse perpetrators to control their victim. By keeping the victim isolated, there are fewer opportunities for them to actively seek help. There is also a decreased chance of any physical injuries being noticed. However, it is important to remember that domestic abuse is not just physical abuse, and a physical mark is not always left. Coercive and controlling behaviour, which is on the rise, is another common form of domestic abuse.

Government support for domestic abuse victims and charities

Following the first week of lockdown, domestic abuse charity Refuge said there had been a 25% increase in calls to the National Abuse Helpline and online requests. The Government has clarified that victims of abuse will be allowed to leave their homes to seek help despite the restrictions and said it would provide £2m in extra funding to support charities dedicated to helping victims of domestic abuse. Additionally, Home Secretary Priti Patel has also launched an initiative called “You Are Not Alone” to help those experiencing domestic abuse.

Although charities are seeing an increase in cases now, they’re also bracing themselves for a flood of those in need of help and support when the lockdown is over and people can move around more freely.

Legal solutions for victims of domestic abuse

The legal remedies which are available for victims of domestic abuse include applying for a non-molestation order (commonly known as an injunction) or an occupation order. Such an application can be made urgently where circumstances require it. A statement setting out the nature of the difficulties and the remedy sought is required to support an application.

An application for a non-molestation order and/or occupation order can be applied for when there has been physical violence, when threats of such behaviour have been made, or there has been intimidation and/or harassment.

A non-molestation order aims to control a person’s abusive behaviour by requiring them to refrain from undertaking a particular act, whereas an occupation order would seek to regulate the living arrangements of a family home.

Breach of a non-molestation order is a criminal offence. Breach of an occupation order could result in the police being required to arrest the perpetrator if a Power of Arrest is attached to the order.

Not being able to come face to face with a lawyer may make a victim question whether it is worth seeking legal advice about the remedies available to protect them. While Courts are closed to the public, in many cases judges, lawyers and court staff are still working to ensure access to justice is available. The Courts have embraced technology available to conduct hearings remotely by telephone or video call and where necessary at short notice.

Foys Solicitors is here to help domestic abuse victims

Foys Solicitors is keen to ensure that victims of domestic abuse do not suffer in silence and understand that help is always available, especially during this lockdown period.

At Foys Solicitors, we continue to operate a full service to all clients, albeit from a remote working environment. Modern technology allows us to help with matters in ways we would have considered unconventional before the nation’s lockdown. We can offer initial and subsequent meeting via video calling services such as Skype and FaceTime. Anyone seeking advice, on a confidential basis, should not hesitate to contact your local Foys Solicitors office or via our contact page.

Our team of Domestic Abuse and Injunction solicitors will always be here to help you through your situation.

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Please note: Domestic abuse remains one of the areas in which Legal Aid is still available.

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