How Can A Solictor Help You

The following Information provided by the Legal Services Commission.

There are many people who suffer domestic violence and they can, at times, find it difficult to do something about it.  There are however, a number of people and organisations that can help you.

Solicitors are specially trained to help you.  They will advise you on the best think for you and your own case.  They will help you to put your case and represent you in court.  Many solicitors have 24 hours help lines.  They are there for you.

Look for a solicitor that has the respected Community Legal Services Quality Mark which means that they have been independently assessed against a rigorous quality standard specially designed for solicitors.

How much will it cost?

Many solicitors will meet you for the first time at no cost.  If you are on income support or have a low income or small savings you will be able to apply for Community Legal Service Funding (CLS) which was called Legal Aid.  This pays for any solicitor’s advice and Court proceedings and you may have to make a small contribution. In other cases depending upon your financial situation you may have to pay for some or all of the costs.

In domestic violence cases the Legal Services Commission when assessing if you can receive CLS funding will ignore your partner finances.

What is an Injunction?

An injunction is an order made by a court.  In relation to domestic violence, there are two types of injunction that can help you.

The first is known as a non molestation order.

This can be used to

a)      Stop your partner from using physical violence against you.

b)      Stop your partner from threatening, pestering or harassing you.

The second type is known as a occupation order.

This can be used to

a)      Enforce your legal right to live in the family home

b)      Prevent your partner from living with you in this home#

c)      Prevent your partner, if necessary, from entering the area that surrounds your home.

You don’t have to be married to get an order made against your partner and you do not have to be living together.  A solicitor will go over the details with you and help you apply to the courts for the order(s) that you need.

How long does it take to get an Injunction?

If you are in immediate danger, your solicitor can apply to the court for an injunction on the same day that you visit them.  The order can be granted ‘ex parte’ which means that you partner does not have to be present – although you may have to return for a fuller hearing once your partner has been informed.

What Evidence will I have to give?

You will have to give a sworn statement to the court that details all of the ways in which your partner has hurt and abused you and the impact.  This has had on you and your child(ren).  If you can identify other people such as your GP or the local police, for example) that may be able to support the evidence you give can be very helpful.

What if my partner ignores the Injunction?

Where violence had been used or threatened the court must attach a power of arrest to any order that they issue.  This means that the injunction is held on record at the local police station and the police are able to arrest your partner if they break the order.  Where a power of arrest has not been attached to an order, and it has been broken, you (and your solicitor) will have to apply to the court for a warrant for your partner’s arrest.

What about my children?

When people separate from violent partners it is very common for them to come under intense pressure to let them have access to or ‘contact’ with the children, regardless of any concerns they may have about their own or the children’s safety.  If this applies to you please discuss your concerns with a solicitor.

Where the partners cannot agree on ‘contact arrangements’. The matter is usually taken to the local Family Court.  This court has the power to decide where a child likes and the degree of contact they should have.  If any with the parent they are not living with.  In making these decisions, the court will need to consider what is best for the child/children concerned.  Since June 2000 this has involved investigating any allegations of domestic violence and assessing its impact on the child/children concerned.  This court can also dictate where the contact should take please and provide additional protection where they are concerns that the children may be abducted or taken away by a former partner without the consent of the parent they are living with.

Where do I go now?

Check Google for your local family law solicitor.

Domestic Violence creates all sorts of problems besides legal ones and there are a number of organisations that can help you.  Each organisation has experience and experts in different area’s so that they can help you.  They include: The Police, Victim Support, Social Services, Your GP or Health Visitor.

Other contacts can be found here.