In unprecedented circumstances when Government advice is to stay at home in a bid to limit the spread of the virus, we are very mindful that for many, home can be anything but a place of haven for people and their children.
Since the introduction of the stringent restrictions, we are receiving calls from families in strained circumstances, living in difficult conditions, whether under self -isolation or otherwise. The uncertainty, pressures of home schooling, worries over money and future job security are a potentially toxic combination. Based on data emerging from China and Italy over recent weeks, incidents of domestic abuse are expected to increase.
So, what can be done to stay safe? First and foremost there is help available. The Home Secretary has clarified advice to confirm victims of domestic abuse are able to leave their homes despite restrictions to seek help in refuge accommodation.
In certain circumstances a court injunction may be available to prevent a person from using or threatening violence against another or child, or to prevent them intimidating harassing or pestering them. In addition, an injunction can regulate who is able to occupy a family home. Sanctions for breaching an Order can be up to a maximum of 5 years imprisonment in the most serious cases.
The court is ensuring emergency procedures remain in place to deal with injunctions if appropriate without notice being given to the alleged perpetrator. Legal Aid may also be available, subject to personal circumstances.
So, please do not suffer in silence or alone. Please use the following contacts for further information or advice:-
Refuge:- Tel : 0808 2000 247
Men’s Advice Line : – Tel : 0808 801 032 ( weekdays 9am -5pm)
Women’s Aid :– www.womensaid.org.uk
Victim Support:- 0808 1689111
Written by Karen Beevers, Partner and specialist Family Lawyer and Accredited Family Mediator at Evans Derry Solicitors.