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The Coronavirus Pandemic and Domestic Abuse
- AuthorNameeta Gujral
The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. The Government’s restrictions on movement requiring us to stay at home is crucial to stopping the spread of this disease. However, these restrictions bring new challenges for those living through domestic abuse. For many the danger is not just outside of their home. Whilst the majority of the usual support groups have stopped face to face appointments, they continue to offer support remotely and over the telephone.
What is Domestic Abuse?
Domestic abuse is not just physical abuse. The Government’s guidance published on 29th March 2020 states that domestic abuse “Is more than physical violence. It can also include, but is not limited to:
- Coercive control and gas lighting
- Economic abuse
- Online abuse
- Verbal abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Sexual abuse”
What do I do if I am the victim of Domestic Abuse?
If you, your child, or someone you know is suffering from domestic violence then the Police should be notified immediately. The Police can direct you to the options available to provide immediate protection.
Legal provisions remain in place to deal with abusers. Applications for Non-Molestation Orders and Occupations Orders are being accepted by the Courts. Domestic abuse in whatever form should never be tolerated, even in these very difficult times.
What is a Non-Molestation Order?
These Orders aim to protect the victims of domestic abuse from on-going abuse. The purpose of the Order is to prevent direct contact and contact through other parties, including via social media. The Order can also prohibit certain actions, such as coming within a certain distance of a child or person.
What is an Occupation Order?
An Occupation Order deals with the occupation of the family home. The Order can direct the abuser to leave the family home and an area surrounding it. The Court, depending on the financial circumstances, may make an Order to ensure that the payment of the rent or mortgage is made until such time as financial matters are addressed on a longer term basis.
What if my abuser finds out I am making this application?
Depending on the circumstances and in situations where there is real and immediate risk to you and your family, there is the option to make an application to the Court on an urgent basis and without notice to the abuser.
We can provide legal advice to victims of domestic abuse to help you find the right method of protection for yourself and your children. We will provide guidance to help you following a breakdown of your relationship.
What happens after I have obtained an Order?
If we have assisted you in applying to the Court, once the relevant Order has been made to the Court, we will arrange for this to be served on your ex-partner and on your local Police station. Breach of a Non-Molestation Order is a criminal offence and can be punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
At Martin Tolhurst Solicitors we routinely offer support to local domestic abuse one stop shops in Kent including those in Sittingbourne, Swale, Maidstone and Canterbury. This support by the one stop shops continues over the telephone despite the lockdown. We are also able to offer you legal advice. If you would like to speak to one of our specialist family Solicitors please do call us. We can offer you an initial 45 minute telephone consultation for £99.00 inclusive of VAT. Telephone 01795 416931 or 01634 729641 to speak with our experts and book an appointment.