Drastic measures have been taken by the government in order to protect the NHS, flatten the curve and beat the virus. These measures have seen the introduction of a national lockdown, and whilst this is meant for the protection of the majority, some people have been placed in greater danger.
Since the lockdown began there has been a substantial rise in domestic abuse cases, with the BBC reporting a rise of 25% of calls and online requests for help. It is a terrifying prospect to be in lockdown with your abuser, with them watching and controlling your every step, and thinking that you do not have a way out. However, there is a way out and there is support available. The government have been clear that domestic abuse is unacceptable under any circumstances, and they continue to support a number of charities who are able to provide support during this time. The Home Secretary, Priti Patel, confirmed that domestic abuse victims can still leave their homes during the lockdown to escape their abuser or ask for help. Her message was clear to all abusers “you will not get away with your crimes.”
What is domestic abuse?
Domestic abuse includes any incident of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse. This can be physical, emotional, financial or sexual.
Domestic abuse can be all consuming, and it is difficult to see a way out, especially in light of the lockdown. But there are things that you can do and there is a way out.
What can I do about domestic abuse?
If you or your children are in any immediate danger, call 999. If you are unable to talk on the phone, after dialling 999, press 55 and you will be transferred to the relevant police force who will help you without you having to speak. Alternatively, if the danger is not immediate, call 101 to speak to the police.
If you are able to, call a close family member to help you get out of the house and into a safe place. If you do not feel able to do this, you could contact one of the following charities:
- Visit National domestic abuse helpline or call 0808 2000 247
- Visit Women’s Aid
- Visit Men’s Advice Line or call 0808 801 0327
If you need a plan, contact our team of domestic abuse solicitors to discuss your legal options; we can make an emergency application to the court to keep you and your children safe.
Non-Molestation Order – this would prohibit your abuser from using or threatening violence, or intimidating, harassing or contacting you (directly or indirectly). If you are in immediate danger, we could make the application on a ‘without notice’ basis, so that the hearing would take place before your abuser is made aware of the application.
Occupation Order – this could give you a right to occupy the family home and exclude your abuser, even during the lockdown. The court have a wide range of powers and could also order that the property is divided, so that you are not in the same area as your abuser, or it could deal with who pays the rent/mortgage. An application for an occupation order could be made without notice, although such applications will only be granted under exceptional circumstances. It is also possible to make an application for a non-molestation order at the same time as an application for an occupation order.
Our specialist team of domestic abuse lawyers are able to work remotely to help you devise a plan to protect you and your family. If you feel like you need a way out, want to know your options, or would like some support, please contact us today on 01202 786153 or email@example.com.
It is important that you act quickly if you feel your safety is at risk.