A woman is assaulted an average of 35 times before she seeks help (Amnesty UK 2006)
It only happens to certain types of people
Not true - There is no set of characteristics making someone more likely to experience domestic abuse.
It can happen to anyone at any time – the only commonality in a DA situation is an abuser.
Those living with domestic abuse provoke and deserve the violence they experience
Not true - They may believe this to be the case but this is likely to be the result of what they have been told by the perpetrator.
For example picture Bob – nice guy, one of the lads, he goes out for a few beers with the lads gets pretty drunk – someone bashes into him and knocks his pint over him but he’s ok, he laughs it off, on his way home he stops to get a kebab and someone knocks it out of his hands but again he shrugs it off. Two incidents where Bob has managed to control his anger however when he gets in he puts his partner through 2 hours of verbal and physical abuse which he has been planning all night.
His behaviour is controlled and premeditated not an outpouring of uncontrolled anger.An abusive tactic used by perpetrators is to accuse their partners of "making" them violent. This accusation is even more effective when the perpetrator and other people tell the victim that he or she deserved the abuse. As a result, many remain in the abusive relationship because they believe that the violence is their fault.
Many victims make repeated attempts to change their behaviour in order to avoid the next assault. Unfortunately, no one, including the victim, can change the behaviour except for the perpetrator. The perpetrator is accountable for the behaviour and responsible for ending the violence, they are choosing to behave in an abusive and controlling way.
Abusive men are not bad fathers
Not true - Where children are an environment where domestic abuse occurs there can be a lasting impact on the behaviour and development of the child(ren).
By being abusive to the mother of the children, he is being a bad father. A good father respects and values the mother of the children, whether they are his biological children or not. Children who are raised in an environment where they have heard or witnessed domestic abuse, whether directly abused or not, are at much greater risk of carrying the effects of this into adult life.
Domestic abuse is about anger and loss of control
Not true - Domestic abuse is about control.
Domestic abuse is a choice to behave in a controlling way; it is not about being angry. Abusive tactics are employed by the perpetrator regardless of whether they feel anger or not. Professionals who work with perpetrators of domestic abuse advise that anger management is a dangerous and unsuitable treatment for perpetrators of domestic abuse.
Disclosure of abuse is usually overly dramatic
Not true - Often reports will be played down, having had the behaviour minimised by the perpetrator as 'just a slap' or 'just an argument'.
Any disclosure of abuse is likely to be the tip of the iceberg. Many living in threatening and controlling situations are reluctant to admit what is happening to them for many reasons. These include the shame of being abused; the fear of what their abusive partner will do if they tell anyone; their partner will have minimised and justified their behaviour, which will often cause the belief that it wasn’t ‘that’ bad and that it was justified. Rather than minimise disclosures of abuse, we must ensure the person disclosing feels validated in all they tells us and they are enabled to access whatever support they need.
If it was that bad they could just leave
Not true - There are many reasons why that may not be an option, isolation, lack of self esteem, a desire for change, financial concerns, impact on the children?s education, threats.
Leaving is likely to put a victim in immense danger, particularly when the abused person is female. This cannot be underestimated and she will know this. In these situations a perpetrator may threaten to harm the woman, her children or himself should she make any attempts to leave. Also when involved in an abusive relationship, a woman may believe that leaving is not possible, meaning that for her leaving is NOT a choice
People in abusive relationships are choosing to stay remain with their partner, if they are not happy they should just leave
Not true - This puts the responsibility of the abuse onto the victim. it is the abusive partner who should stop their behaviour.
An abuser will ensure victims think they can’t cope alone, by undermining them and putting them down until they believe this. It can appear financially impossible to leave the situation, and statistically, the time a victim is at most risk of being murdered is when she or he is trying to leave an abusive relationship. Therefore leaving is a very dangerous choice and should be done, wherever possible, with support from trained professionals.
Domestic abuse is private matter; it’s not for me to get involved
Not true - Domestic abuse is a crime and against the law. we can all be affected by domestic abuse and have a responsibility to speak out
In 2011/12, 7.3% women (1.2 million) and 5% men (800,000) reported having experienced domestic abuse - source (Office for National Statistics (ONS), 2013)
This section is intended to be an overview in relation to the legal terminology you may encounter.
It is advisable to take the appropriate advice from the legal profession to ensure the action you jointly decide on with your support worker is the one most pertinent to your situation.
Occupation orders enable the court to regulate who lives in the family home. It can include several different provisions, such as requiring the respondent to leave the property or to allow the applicant to enter and remain there. It can cover situations whereby the property is jointly owned or rented.
How do you get an Occupation Order?
The test for such orders is known as the 'balance of harm' test. The court will consider the harm suffered by the applicant or relevant child, and whether they are likely to suffer significant harm if the court does not make the order. This will be weighed up against the harm suffered by the respondent or relevant child if the order is made. Section 33(7) of the Family Law Act states that the court must make an order if the test is met.
Even if the 'balance of harm' threshold is not satisfied, the court still has the ability to grant the order. It will examine all the circumstances of the case, including the housing needs and resources of the parties, their financial resources, the likely effect of the order, and the conduct of the parties. It must be remembered that the making of an occupation order is a severe step for the court to take - and this is reflected in the level of discretion given to the court
A non-molestation order prevents the abuser from being violent or threatening violence against you or your child. It also includes intimidation, harassment, or pestering.
Can I apply for a non-molestation order & I am eligible for Application?
In order to apply for such an order, both the applicant and respondent must be 'associated persons'. This includes people who are married or have been married, civil partners and people who cohabit or people who have previously cohabited. It also covers those who have had 'an intimate personal relationship' which was of 'significant duration' (such as partners who did not live together.)
What does 'Molestation' mean?
'Molestation' can be a somewhat confusing term, but it is one which is viewed widely in practice. It can include violence or threats of violence as well as actions such as nuisance phone calls or text messages. The court will expect that there has been a level of harassment in order to warrant its intervention - in other words, the respondent has acted deliberately so as to harass the applicant. Whilst this is a broad approach, it means that it can cover a multitude of scenarios that constitute domestic abuse.
What is contained in a non-molestation Order?
The Order can contain one or both of the following provisions:
- A prohibition on the respondent from molesting another person who is associated with them.
- A prohibition on the respondent from molesting a 'relevant child' (a wide definition which gives the court a great deal of discretion.
Will the order be granted?
In deciding whether to grant a non-molestation order, the Act sets out a test that the court must consider, which has regard to:
All of the circumstances of the case, including the need to secure the health, safety and well-being of both the applicant and any relevant child.
How long does a non-molestation order last?
Non-Molestation Orders can be made for a specified period, or until the court makes another order, which again affords the court a great deal of flexibility.
What happens if the abuser breaches the Non-Molestation Order?
Importantly, breach of a Non-Molestation Order is a criminal offence. Those guilty of breaching such an order can be imprisoned, fined, or both. In the event that a prosecution occurs, this would be dealt with by the Crown Prosecution Service and a specialist solicitor would need to be consulted.
Who is eligible to apply for an injunction?
In order for you to apply for one of these orders you must be an 'associated person'. This means you and your partner or ex-partner must be related or associated with each other in one of the following ways:
- You are or have been married to each other.
- You are or have been in a civil partnership with each other;
- You are cohabitants or former cohabitants (including same sex couples)
- You live or have lived in the same household.
- You are relatives.
- You have formally agreed to marry each other (even if that agreement has now ended).
- You have a child together (this can include those who are parents of the same child, and those who have parental responsibility for the same child).
- Although not living together, you are in an “intimate relationship of significant duration”.
- You are both involved in the same family proceedings (e.g. divorce or child contact).
A Prohibited Steps Order
(PSO) is an order granted by the court in family cases which prevents either parent from carrying out certain events, or making specific trips with their children without the express permission of the other parent. This is more common in cases where there is suspicion that one parent may leave the area with their children. Other applications of this type of order could be to:
- prevent the child associating with someone who has an adverse influence
- prevent medical treatment
- prevent the child being permanently removed from the country
A Specific Issue Order
Either parent of the child can make an application to the Court to determine a SPECIFIC ISSUE concerning the child. It can be on any matter related to Parental Responsibility. For example:
- which school the child should attend
- whether the child should receive medical treatment
- how religion should be included in the child’s upbringing
- whether the parent with care can take the child to live abroad
Forced Marriage Protection Orders
How can they protect me?
A Forced Marriage Protection Order is unique to each case, it contains legally binding conditions and directions that change the behaviour of a person or persons trying to force someone into marriage. The aim of the order is to protect the person who has been, or is being, forced into marriage. The court can make an order in an emergency so that protection is in place straightaway.
The court can:-
Make a Forced Marriage Protection Order to protect a person facing forced marriage or who has been forced into marriage.
Applications for forced marriage protection orders can be made at the same time as a police investigation or other criminal proceedings. Someone who disobeys a court order can be sent to prison for up to two years for contempt of court; but breach of a Forced Marriage Protection Order is also a criminal offence with a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment.