Whether you are working or not, you may be able to claim certain benefits to help you if you leave your partner. This will depend on your income. The Citizen's Advice Bureaux will give you confidential, free advice on this and you won’t be asked to go into all your personal details with them.
For more information visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk
Many people who experience domestic abuse do not feel able to contact the police or press charges. However, there is still protection available. A non-molestation order can provide protection from all forms of abuse and violence. It can be used to order someone to stop using or threatening violence against you or your children. It can also be used to order someone to stop their intimidation, pestering or harassment of an adult or child.
To apply for this order you must be 'associated' to the person you seek protection from. This includes people who are married to each other, people who've lived together, people from the same household (not tenants or lodgers) and relatives.
The Act covers same sex couples and people who've had a relationship but who’ve not lived together.
In the case of children, it relates to the child’s parent or those who have parental responsibility.
Orders are normally granted for a period of 6 months. If a person breaches a non-molestation order they can automatically be arrested. They can be given a prison sentence of up to 5 years.
How do I apply?
You will need a solicitor to help you with this. There are many solicitors available but it is best to check out that they have experience of dealing with 'family law' and non-molestation orders before you decide which one to use. Most solicitors will provide a 30 minute appointment free of charge to discuss what you want them to do.
If you are unsure we can contact a solicitor for you and may be able to attend the appointment.
Can I get legal aid?
Getting any legal help can be expensive so check with your solicitor what it is likely to cost. You may be entitled to claim help with the expenses. To check this you can visit http://www.clsdirect.org.uk/en/legalaid/calculator.jsp
Domestic abuse, in itself is not an offence. However, there are many offences that a person can be charged with if they are violent or abusive. If your partner has assaulted you, made threats, damaged your property or is harassing you, you should contact the police. Remember your safety is of great importance.
The police should take seriously what you tell them and should treat you with respect and fairness. Many police departments have specific Domestic Violence Officers who have extra training on domestic abuse.
If you feel that you cannot involve the police you can contact us to talk through your options or consider using civil law to get protection.