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તમારા વિસ્તારમાં કોઇ કાનૂની સલાહકાર શોધો

26 Domestic Violence, Abuse and Harassment

pdf icon Download Domestic Violence, Abuse and Harassment (PDF File 423kb)

1 Introduction

2. What can I do if someone in my family is abusing me?

3. Practical things to do if you have been abused

4. Taking legal steps

Once you have thought about the practical things you need to do to ensure your short-term safety, you can take some legal steps to make sure the law can protect you. You can get help from the criminal law and the civil law together or separately. You have a number of choices, depending on:

  • what has happened;
  • what you want to do; and
  • what you can afford.

Why you may need to take legal steps
There are several reasons why you may need to use the courts, including if:

  • your partner is violent to you and the police are called to the incident;
  • your partner has been violent to you and you decide to call the police after the event;
  • someone else informs the police that they think you or your children are being abused;
  • your partner has been violent to you and you consult a solicitor; or
  • your partner is violent to you, you involve the police and you consult a solicitor.

In all these situations the law is the same but you get access to it in different ways and will have different choices to make. We describe each of these here.

Your partner is violent to you and the police are called to the incident
The police should take steps straight away to protect you and any children. They may arrest your partner if they believe he or she has committed a crime, such as assault. If they arrest your partner and release them on police bail, they can impose conditions to protect you and stop them doing it again. This may include stopping them:

  • coming back to the home for the time being; or
  • contacting you or your children.

The police may follow up an emergency visit and investigate what has happened. You may be visited by a community safety officer, who will be able to tell you where you can get help and what the police plan to do about the situation. See also ‘What the police can do for you’.

Your partner has been violent to you and you call the police after the event
Call your local police station (you will find the number in the phone book under ‘Police’). You should ask to speak to your local community safety officer. They will normally talk to you on the phone and may arrange to meet you to investigate your complaint and help you decide what you want to do.

The community safety officer will be able to advise you about your options. If you decide to stay in your home, the officer can tell you how to keep yourself safe and how to call for help if you need it. Some police forces have special emergency buttons and mobile phones they can give you so that you can call for help quickly if you need it.

If you feel that you want to report your partner’s behaviour and make a formal complaint against them, then the officer will take the details from you.

Someone else tells the police that they think you or your children are being abused
The police will follow this up and contact you to find out what has happened. The community safety officer will probably phone you, arrange to see you to investigate the complaint, and help you decide what you want to do.

Your partner has been violent to you and you decide to see a solicitor
You will need a solicitor who specialises in family law and possibly also takes publicly funded (legal aid) cases. You can find details of family lawyers in your area from:

  • the Community Legal Service;
  • the Law Society, which has a Family Law Panel. Solicitors on this panel have to pass an exam and prove they have family law experience;
  • Resolution, which is an association of specialist solicitors who take a positive approach to family and relationship matters, and try to keep things amicable (friendly or polite).

You may also be able to get advice from your local Citizens’ Advice Bureau or Law Centre.

See ‘Further help’ on for how to contact these, and other, organisations. If you need emergency help because, for example, you have had to leave your home, make this clear to the firm of solicitors when you phone for an appointment. In some areas, there is a network of solicitors who deal with domestic abuse. If a firm cannot see you straight away, they will pass you on to another firm who can.

Your solicitor will explain to you what you can do, and should be able to arrange for you to get some advice about help with money and housing, if you have not been able to sort these out for yourself. Your solicitor can advise you about applying for an injunction (court order) against your partner if this is what you want to do – see ‘Court orders you can get to protect you’.

Your solicitor may also advise you to tell the police what has happened.

Your partner is violent to you, you tell the police and you consult a solicitor

The police community safety officer will talk to you and discuss your options. They may say that you can get an injunction (a court order to stop your partner from abusing you or your children). The police may suggest that you see a solicitor to sort this out, even if they are going to take criminal action against your partner.

5. What the police can do for you

6. What a solicitor can do for you

7. Court orders you can get to protect you

8. How a court order protects you

9. What if the person abusing me is not my partner?

10. How can I help someone who is being abused?

11. Terms used in matters to do with domestic abuse

12. Further help

13. About this leaflet

This leaflet is published by the Gurkha Free Legal Advice (LSC). It was written in association with Imogen Clout, a solicitor and mediator specialising in family law.

Leaflet version: August 2008

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