With a further extension made to the Stay at Home rules and with Boris Johnson urging us to be patient and to stick with it, victims of domestic abuse find themselves increasingly trapped.
Calls to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline have increased by 25% since lockdown began. Staying at home might not be the safest option for a number of people living with an abusive partner, leaving little room to escape and further opportunity for control to be exerted by the perpetrator.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “Whilst our advice is to stay at home, anyone who is at risk of, or experiencing, domestic abuse, is still able to leave and seek refuge. Refuges remain open, and the police will provide support to all individuals who are being abused –whether physically, emotionally, or otherwise.”
Contact details are readily available for local refuges and the national helpline, but for some the risk of abuse is imminent and the assistance of the Police is urgently required. If it is necessary to dial 999, but the victim is unable to speak, there is a Silent Solution System whereby if you are silent upon being asked what service you require, you will be transferred to the police. When you hear this, press 55 and your call will be transferred to your local police force.
In most cases the police are ready and able to support and assist victims of abuse. However, if the police are unable to assist for whatever reason and a protective order from the Court is required against an abusive partner or family member, such as a Non Molestation Order (known also as an ‘injunction’), then our Family Law Team may be able to assist. Contact should be made with us at the earliest opportunity to take advice.
Sometimes, if there is no immediate danger and if it is appropriate, a warning letter can be sent to the perpetrator asking them to desist in their behaviour towards the alleged victim, informing them of the action that can be taken against them should they continue.
If you are unsure whether you are a victim of domestic abuse, it does have a wide definition, and does not just include physical violence. Examples of illegal behaviour include:
Restricting your access to money
Making you do things against your will
Controlling what you wear
Forcing you to obey their rules
Sharing sexually explicit images of you and/or threatening to reveal private information about you
Being possessive and jealous
Stopping you from speaking to/seeing family and friends
Persistent name calling
Following you (including use of a tracking device)
If advice and assistance is required where the police have been unable to assist, or a warning letter is necessary, contact Farleys family law team on 0845 287 0939 or contact us by email.
If support is required from Refuge the 24 hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline is 0808 2000 247.
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