Identifying Domestic Abuse
17 May 2022 by Lisa O'Boyle
It is not uncommon for victims of domestic abuse to not realise that they are in an abusive relationship, mistakenly believing this only includes physical or sexual abuse.
There is a wider legal definition of “domestic abuse” since the passing of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021.
The victim and the abuser must be personally connected, such as having been married, civil partners, in an intimate personal relationship, have a parental relationship in relation to the same child or are relatives.
Domestic abuse is defined as “physical or sexual abuse, violent or threatening behaviour, controlling and coercive behaviour, economic abuse, psychological, emotional or other abuse and it does not matter whether the behaviour consists of a single incident or a course of conduct.”
“Economic abuse” means behaviour that has a substantial adverse effect on the victim’s ability to acquire, use or maintain money or other property or obtain goods or services. Making the victim economically dependent on the abuser limits the victim’s ability to escape.
“Controlling and coercive behaviour” is defined in the Serious Crime Act 2015 as repeatedly or continuously engaging in behaviour towards the victim that is controlling or coercive, has a serious effect on the victim, and the abuser knows or ought to know that the behaviour would have a serious effect on the victim. It can include behaviours such as controlling who the victim can see, where they can go, what they wear, depriving the victim of basic needs, monitoring the victim.
Victims at immediate risk should call the police on 999, and press 55 if they cannot speak so that the call is transferred as an emergency.
Short and longer term remedies for victims exist in the criminal and also in the family court, which has a lower burden of proof. The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 creates new remedies with Domestic Abuse Protection Notices which the police can issue for immediate protection and Domestic Abuse Protection Orders which the court can make for longer term protection. The Local Authority has duties to give support to victims of domestic abuse and their children in relation to accommodation.
Our Domestic Violence team at Fisher Jones Greenwood have considerable experience in providing advice and guidance to victims of domestic abuse. This includes, but is not limited to, obtaining an order from the family court to protect you. If you would like a confidential chat with one of our solicitors please call 01206 835320 or email [email protected]
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