How The Law Can Protect Victims Of Domestic Abuse
In the UK and Wales, one in every four women and one in every six men will be the victims of domestic abuse at some point in their lives. The term “domestic abuse” covers a range of examples of abuse. It could mean psychological or emotional abuse, or physical violence. It could also mean financial abuse, which often involves someone taking advantage of a vulnerable individual’s finances for personal gain, and neglecting to leave the person enough to live on. Domestic abuse is a serious problem in the UK, and some cases are so severe they can lead to permanent emotional or physical harm, and even death.
What should you do if you have been the victim of domestic abuse?
If you find yourself the victim of any kind of domestic abuse, you have several options. The first option, and often the best, is to report the violence to the police. If you are being attacked or fear for your life, you should try to leave your home or the location of the abuse, and call 999. If the abuse has already happened, then you can call the non-emergency number, 101. You could also attend any police station to report the incident in person but rest assured this is a crime that the police take very seriously.
How does the law protect victims of domestic abuse?
Once an incident of domestic abuse has been reported, several things may happen. If the victim fears for their life or thinks that the abuse may continue, the police can issue a Domestic Violence Protection Notice. The police would then apply to the magistrates’ court to seek a Domestic Violence Protection Order. A Domestic Violence Protection Notice or Domestic Violence Protection Order can bar an abuser from re-entering a home that the share with the victim. It can also bar them from contacting you. If they violate a Notice or Order, evidence of this can be used in the court while pressing charges for the abuse.
A Domestic Violence Protection Order can be active for up to 28 days. This gives the victim time to move out of their home if they feel that they are in danger. It also gives them time to take further legal action. A victim could file for divorce or pursue a court injunction against their attacker. If children are involved, it gives the other parent time to file to have custody taken away from the abusive other parent.
There are a range of speedier injunctions available that do not necessarily need the approval of the court to be served in the first instance. This is to provide almost immediate protection for victims. These injunctions are intended to prevent the abuser from contacting the victim, or coming into contact with them.
How can a process server help?
When taking legal action against an attacker, the help of a process server can be crucial. They can hand deliver (serve) court orders very quickly, which allows the victim of the abuse to maintain a safe distance from their attacker. If a Violence Protection Order is in place for example, it’s important that legal action is taken swiftly, before the order expires. A process server will help ensure that everything is delivered and served in a timely manner, avoiding any delays. The perpetrator of the abuse will also realise the severity of their actions if they are served with an official legal order by a process server and it is an important step in preventing any further abuse from taking place.
There are lots of fantastic domestic abuse charities and organisations providing free and confidential advice to victims.
Writer’s Bio: Lewis Murawski is the marketing and business development manager at Diem Legal and Managing Director of Kahootz Media. Need professional help with digital marketing? You can connect with Lewis directly on LinkedIn