Domestic violence can have a devastating effect on victims, however, there are certain provisions in the law to help those who are suffering domestic violence or have a fear of domestic violence reoccurring.
Below is an overview of the main features of the law that can help protect you from domestic violence.
The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme
The Domestic Violence Disclosure scheme means that you are able to find out whether your partner ahs any history of domestic violence from the police. The police will give you any information they believe is necessary to protect you and will warn you if they believe you are in danger of domestic violence.
Domestic Violence Protection Orders
Where you have suffered or been threatened with domestic violence, the police may issue a Domestic Violence Protection notice. They will then apply to the court for a Domestic Violence protection Order. This order can protect you from further suffering or if you live with the abuser, it can prevent them from returning to your home or getting in contact with you.
If this order is issued and is breached by the perpetrator of the abuse, they can be arrested. A Domestic Violence Protection Order lasts for up to 28 days. This can give you time to get the support you need and explore your options for moving forward.
An injunction is a court order that will prevent the abuser acting in a certain way and an emergency injunction can be made by the court without notice – this means that the abuser will not know about the injunction until it is served on them. There are three main kinds of emergency injunction available t protect from domestic violence and they offer a more long term solution than the order outlined above.
A non-molestation order usually prevents a perpetrator of domestic violence from using or threatening to use physical violence, intimidating or harassing you, communicating with you in any way (if required) or instructing or encouraging others to contact or harass you. A non-molestation order is usually granted for 6-12 months and breaching the order could result in arrest.
You can apply for this order where you and the perpetrator are ‘associated persons’. This covers most relationships including former partners, people who live together and people who have children together.
You can make an emergency application where there had bee recent use or threat of physical violence – usually within the last 5-7 days.
An occupation order is an order that regulates the family home. An occupation order may suspend visiting or occupation rights, evict an abuser from the family home, prevent an abuser from returning to the family home or even prevent them coming within 100 meters of the family home. The order is usually granted for 6-12 months and a power to arrest may be attached to the order.
In order to apply for this order:
– the applicant and respondent must be associated persons
– The applicant must have nowhere else to live (this is not always strictly enforced)
– There must have been a recent use or threat of physical violence, normally within the last 5-7 days.
Prohibited Steps Order
A prohibited steps order can prevent a person from taking your children out of your care and control. This order is most useful where the other person is ordinarily allowed to have care and control of your children and threatens to take them away from you. With this order there is no power of arrest however in some circumstances the police may assist informally. This will not necessarily prevent contact between the respondent and your children if maintaining contact is appropriate in all the circumstances.
You can apply for this order where a recent direct or indirect threat is made to remove your children from your care and control. Making the order should be in the best interest of the child and regard will be had to their overall welfare.