What is domestic violence?
There is no legal definition of domestic violence, but the cross-government definition of domestic violence and abuse is:
“Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. This can encompass – but is not limited to – psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional abuse.”
If you are a victim of domestic violence, your first step should be to contact the police. However, the process of applying for an injunction against your abuser is done through court, and for this you should seek advice from a solicitor who specialises in Family Law and domestic violence.
How injunctions work
An injunction can be put in place to prevent your abuser from being able to hurt you or your children. You would need to apply for this in Family Court, but there is no court fee when you apply for a domestic violence injunction. Your solicitor will prepare a witness statement giving details of the case, your relationship to the abuser, and any incidents of abuse which have occurred. Reports from the police or a doctor can be attached to support your statement, and if you have any evidence of the abuse such as photographs or texts, you should give these to your solicitor. You will have to attend at least one court hearing, but there are cases where your application can be considered without your abuser present. If this is possible, your solicitor will make an application ‘without notice’.
You can only apply for an injunction if you are associated with your abuser; that is, they are a partner (including same sex), former partner, relative, the parent of your child, or someone you have shared a home with. If you are not associated with your abuser, you might have to seek protection from harassment instead.
An injunction protects both you and any relevant children involved. A relevant child is anyone under the age of 18 who is living with you or your abuser, or anyone who the court can consider relevant to the case. Children over 18 or adults who need protection have to apply for their own injunction separately.
Types of domestic violence injunctions
There are two types of injunctions you can apply for to protect yourself from your abuser:
- Non-molestation order. This type of injunction is intended to protect you and your children from violence and can be put in place even when your abuser is still living with you. Your abuser may be ordered to not hurt you, not speak to you or contact you, or not approach your place of work. They can also be ordered to stay away from any children you have as well as their school or nursery.
- Occupation order. If your abuser has a legal entitlement to live in your home – for example, if they are on the tenancy or you are married – an occupation order can stop them from entering the home, but still require them to pay the rent or mortgage. If they have locked you out of your home, an occupation order can also force them to give you access.
You can apply for both orders if required. When considering an application, the court will look at any statements and evidence presented, and also consider any potential harm that might come to you or your children if the order is not granted. The type of order you can apply for will be dependent on what legal entitlements you and your abuser have to the home you live in, and for this reason you should have a specialist solicitor on your side.
Call Foys Solicitors today
If you or your children have experienced domestic violence, Foys Solicitors can talk to you about your options and apply for an injunction. If you already have an injunction in place but your abuser has breached it, we can help you start civil proceedings as well.
With Foys Solicitors you will have access to expertise in Family and Children Law, as well as criminal litigation. We also have a lawyer accredited by Resolution with specialism in domestic abuse.
For a free initial consultation, contact your local Foys Solicitors office today.