Domestic abuse in family proceedings

by Amanda Sime

In 2018, 6.1% of adults were victims of domestic abuse. This works out at around 1.3 million women and 695,000 men. Domestic abuse is any incident or pattern of behaviour that is violent, controlling, coercive or threatening. This can be physical, psychological, sexual, financial and/or emotional. This form of abuse can have severe effects on a victim’s mental health. Unfortunately, many people going through the family law courts are victims of domestic abuse.

A parent in a family case, who may have only just realised they are a victim of domestic abuse themselves, will have to talk about the abuse they have suffered to various people whom they have never met before. If they don’t acknowledge or understand they are a victim of domestic abuse they may be criticised, particularly if children are involved and have witnessed such abuse.

Parents may be asked to attend a domestic violence course – it is often only then a parent realises exactly what they have been a victim of. People’s home lives are private, and it may be very hard to talk about any abuse that may occur behind closed doors.

Often parents will deny all domestic abuse to social services and social worker. Denying, and pretending the domestic abuse isn’t happening, sadly will only make things worse. A court will not judge a person who has been a victim of domestic abuse. This person is a victim, with no blame being placed on them by anyone, least of all the court.

Being a victim of domestic abuse does not mean your child will be removed from your care. The best thing to do is to be open and honest with the Social Services from the outset, no matter how scary this is.

We can help you with this. If you are a victim of domestic violence and you are in proceedings with the social services or you require protection from your abuser, we can help you.

If you are a victim of domestic abuse, we can help you protect yourself with a non-molestation order. If you are already in proceedings, we can attend court with you and book a different room for you to wait in so you do not come across the perpetrator while waiting at court. We can also apply for court ‘special measures’ including a screen in the courtroom or giving evidence via video link.

We can put you in touch with support agencies whose main goal is to support victims of domestic violence and help them move forward with their lives.

You can take however long you need to tell us your story; our appointment times are not capped and we are always here at the other end of the phone. We are here to help you, and we understand your story may be a painful one to tell. Call us on 0151 239 1000 or contact us online to start the process of protecting yourself.