At Garratts, we support victims of domestic violence and their families in getting much-needed protection from their abusers. To speak to our team of domestic abuse solicitors, call us on 0161 665 350 or request a callback.
What is domestic abuse?
Domestic abuse is generally defined as “an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour, including sexual violence, in the majority of cases by a partner or ex-partner, but also by a family member or carer” (Womensaid.org.uk).
Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse regardless of gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity or socio-economic background.
Domestic abuse is not limited to sexual or physical violence but can also encompass other types of abuse such as;
- Coercive control
- Gaslighting and emotional abuse
- Financial or economic abuse
What is coercive control?
Coercive control is defined as “an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse” (CPS.gov.uk). Abusers will exercise coercive controlling behaviours to various extents to either punish, harm or frighten their victims. They may, for instance, try and control the victim by;
- Using isolation as a means to disrupt relationships between the victim and other family members or friends.
- Verbally degrading, undermining, dehumanising or humiliating the victim.
- Exercising control over the victim’s life, including everyday activities, contact with friends or family and isolating the victim from others.
- Displaying threatening behaviours, including threats to the victim’s children.
- Forcing the victim to take part in criminal activities.
- Depriving the victim of medical care.
- Preventing the victim from leaving their home and accessing transportation.
What is gaslighting?
Gaslighting is a type of manipulation tactic and emotionally abusive behaviour whereby the abuser will make the victim doubt their perception of reality and mental sanity. The abuser may, for instance, trivialise the victims’ emotions and accuse them of;
- Confusing or incorrectly recalling past events
- Inventing past events
- Not thinking clearly and acting paranoid
- Imagining things
What is financial or economic abuse?
According to the Care Act 2014, financial abuse is a type of abuse where money or other property may be stolen from the victim; they may also be defrauded, put under pressure concerning money or other property, and have money or other property misused (Legislation.gov.uk).
Examples of financial abuse may involve the abuser;
- Not returning borrowed money from the victim
- Stealing money or other possessions
- Forcing the victim to overwrite financial assets, property, pensions or wills
- Taking benefits or pension payments from the victim
What is a non-molestation order?
A non-molestation order is a court order which is intended to prohibit the abuser from further psychologically abusing, physically threatening, harassing or intimidating the victim. Non-molestation orders can be obtained on an urgent basis and may be granted without notice to the other party.
Breaching a non-molestation order is an arrestable offence with sentencing of up to five years imprisonment. Non Molestation order can be obtained against spouses and ex-spouses, civil or former civil partners, family members, intimate partners or co-parents.
How long does a non-molestation order last?
A non-molestation order is usually granted for 6 to 12 months. Depending on the circumstances, it may be granted for longer.
What is an occupation order?
An occupation order is a court order which regulates who may or may not enter and live in (or “occupy”) a property. It can exclude someone even if they solely or jointly own the property and is generally granted in serious circumstances.
An occupation order can be obtained on an urgent basis, but in most circumstances, the other party will be given notice of this apart from in exceptional cases.
How long does an occupation order last?
An occupation order usually lasts up to six months. In exceptional circumstances, the order may be extended or renewed.