Everyone has the right to live without fear for their safety. No one has the right to cause you harm or threaten you. You have the right to complain to the police, as such behaviour may constitute a criminal offence.

Domestic abuse occurs across society. Although government figures show that domestic abuse consists mainly of violence by men against women, it is not restricted to these circumstances. Men too are abused by their partners and children can also be caught up in domestic violence.

Domestic violence is any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (be it physical or emotional) between adults who are or have been in a relationship together, or between family members, regardless of gender or sexuality.

Although domestic violence is chronically under reported, research estimates it:

  • accounts for 16% of all violent crime
  • one incident of Domestic Violent is reported to the police every minute
  • 45% of women and 26% of men have experienced at least one incident of domestic violence in their lifetime
  • 1/3 of all reported incidents are violence against men, 2/3rds against women
  • each year there are around 30 million recorded incidents of physical violence, threats of violent or incidents of sexual abuse against women by their current or former partner
  • 54% of UK rapes are by a woman's current or former partner
  • on average two women per week are killed by their current or former partner, this equates to 1/3rd of all female homicide victims.

Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence affects men and women from all ages and backgrounds, regardless of economic or social status, race, religion or immigration status and we appreciate that speaking about it can be very difficult.

There is no legal definition of domestic violence. However the Government defines domestic violence as "…any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are or have been in a relationship together, or between family members, regardless of gender or sexuality." This definition includes violence from family members other than the victim's partner.

If you are being abused or threatened then you have the right to apply to the Court for what is known as a Non-molestation Injunction to protect you. The Injunction will prevent your ex-partner or partner from intimidating, harassing, assaulting or pestering you in any way or by instructing any other person to do so. Injunctions are made with a Power of Arrest attached to them which means that if your ex-partner or partner attempts to breach the terms of the Order made by the Court then you can contact the Police and they will immediately be arrested and held in police custody until they can appear before a Judge.

Occupation Orders

You are also entitled to apply for what is known as an Occupation Order which will provide you with the exclusive right to occupy your home. It will also ensure that your ex-partner or partner is not permitted to enter the property or go within a specific distance of it.

You do not have an automatic right to an occupation order. The court will weigh the potential risk of harm to you (and your children) if an order is not made against the potential risk of harm to the other person if the order is made before deciding the matter.

Harassment

Harassment is a course of conduct that is deliberately intended to cause a person distress or alarm.

If you are not "associated" to your abuser then you may be able to obtain protection under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 which makes it a criminal offence to harass someone or make them fear that violence will be used against them. The PFHA 1997 enables a person who is being harassed or put in fear of violence to get a restraining order against the person responsible and claim damages (financial compensation) from them.

If you are being threatened or abused and need some advice then please contact us on 01234 854055 or email on internationallawconnect@gmail.com

Domestic abuse and children

Domestic abuse and children

Domestic abuse and addiction

When one parent turns a child against the other

It is usually best when separated or divorced parents develop a cooperative parenting relationship.
But situations that need special consideration include:

Domestic abuse - physical, emotional or sexual abuse toward a parent
Physical, emotional or sexual abuse of a child
Addiction issues
Parental neglect or abandonment
Alienation of children by a parent
Although it is important for children to maintain a loving relationship with both Mum and Dad, the child's physical and emotional well-being and safety should always come first.

Be relentless in advocating the safety of your children:

Don't just try to keep the peace, hoping that the other parent's behaviour will change. This places you and your children at great risk. Significant change can only happen if the offending parent acknowledges the problem and is actively seeking professional help.
Seek advice from your solicitor if the other parent has threatened you, hurt you physically or sexually, or has treated you in an emotionally abusive way.
Offer your children emotional support.
The following tips may help you support your children in managing their feelings:

Acknowledge what has happened and allow children to talk. Be open and honest, with age-appropriate explanations. Seek professional support if necessary.

Educating children about the problem helps them to understand that they cannot influence the situation and to feel empowered not helpless. It helps them identify dysfunctional behaviour and avoid repeating it themselves.

Teach your children personal protection skills - how to call for emergency help, how to find a safe adult during a crisis, how to avoid unsafe situations.

Avoid criticising the other parent.

Children need to know that their safety takes priority over everything else. Explain that the destructive behaviour is inappropriate and that you hope in the future their other parent will make better choices.

Your children may feel guilty or responsible. Explain that it is not their fault and that the offending parent is the only person who can change the situation.

If contact between the offending parent and the children is suspended or supervised, talk to your children in an age-appropriate way. Let them know what is going to happen and support their feelings. Remember that they may appreciate being safer but still wish that everything could be okay.

Try to create a consistent, predictable and peaceful home environment. Children can heal from the past with the support of one loving, stable parent.

Seek support for yourself and your children. Healing can take time.

Events for parents

We want to help parents manage the impact of their divorce or separation on their children. The workshops are run in partnership with leading charities Relate and Action for Children, and are affordable and accessible.

This is known as parent alienation. It occurs when a child is significantly influenced by one parent ('the alienator') to completely reject the other parent ('the target parent').

Parental alienation syndrome (or PAS) places children in a situation where they must view one parent as bad and one parent as good. This leaves no space for a child to love both parents. The child is forced to deny or reject a part of themselves.

Intervention should be guided by the assessment of a qualified professional.
Remember that when a child distances themselves from a parent, parental alienation may not be to blame. Consider all other possible causes.
Hostile aggressive parenting (or HAP) is related to parental alienation syndrome.

Often seen in high-conflict situations where an adult is unable to get over the separation and uses the child to control or seek revenge on the target parent. These parents cannot acknowledge their child's needs, may view children as belonging just to them and often cannot see the damage they are inflicting on their children.
Can develop into parental alienation syndrome but does not always lead to the child's rejection of the target parent. But it greatly interferes with the development of a healthy parent-child relationship.
Can extend beyond the parent-child relationship and include other significant adults in a child's life such as grandparents or step-parents.
Here are some tips for managing these situations:

Does:

Understand the problem so that you can act before things get worse.
Seek professional support to help you manage the stress and emotional drain.
Seek good legal representation when necessary. Ensure your lawyer is educated about parental alienation syndrome and hostile aggressive parenting.
Behave with integrity. You may not have control over the other parent's actions, but you can control how you handle the situation with your children.
Maintain contact and be consistent with your children.Despite their attempts to reject you, follow through with what you say you will do.
Offer children an alternative perception of reality whenever possible. It is okay to say that you do not agree with the other parent's actions, but do not criticise them as this may push your child further away.
Give clear messages to your children, such as 'children should not have to choose one parent over the other' or 'this is an issue between Mum and Dad'.

Don't:

Put your child in the middle of adult issues.
Blame your children for the rejection. They are being placed in a situation where, to be embraced by one parent, they must reject the other.
Think you don't matter to your children - you do. Your child still needs you and cannot manage this situation without support.
Give up. It may take years before you see change.