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Domestic abuse during Covid-19

Over the past few months, the coronavirus lockdown has meant victims of domestic abuse have been at even greater risk, as have their children.  National newspapers have reported emergency calls to the police and support services have risen and it has been estimated that cases of domestic abuse have increased by 20% during the lockdown, as many people are trapped at home with their abuser. The UN has described the worldwide increase in domestic abuse as a “shadow pandemic” alongside Covid-19.

What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse is described as:

  • Coercive behaviour
  • Economic abuse
  • Online abuse
  • Verbal abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Sexual abuse

Getting help

If you are a victim of domestic abuse, the first port of call is to dial 999 and ask for the police.

If the police are unable to assist you can apply to the family courts for a non-molestation and/or occupation orders.  The family courts are dealing with such matters urgently and are holding hearings by telephone.

Legal protection from domestic abuse

A non-molestation order is to protect you from domestic abuse and can also be used to keep a person away from your home or workplace.  It typically lasts for 6 to 12 months. If such order is breached, the perpetrator can be arrested and charged by the police for a criminal offence. In severe cases the punishment is 5 years imprisonment or he/she could be brought before the family court for contempt of court.

An occupation order determines who lives in the family home.  It can also be used to exclude a person from such property.

When considering such applications, the court will consider all the circumstances but most importantly the harm the person making the application or any child is likely to suffer if such orders are not made.

More information and advice if you are experiencing domestic abuse

How can we help?

If you are a victim of domestic abuse and require further assistance, then please contact our experienced family solicitor Pavinder Khela at our Stamford Office on 01780 752066 or by emailing pavinder.khela@hegarty.co.uk.

Contact our family team

Do you want find out more?

Make an enquiry online Contact the Peterborough office Contact the Stamford office Contact the Oakham office