Domestic Violence and Abuse

Domestic Violence and Abuse: Legal Remedies

Domestic violence is a pattern of threatening, controlling, coercive behaviour, violence or abuse used by one person over another within a close or intimate relationship. Unfortunately, this form of abuse is taking place all around us and yet very few of us will be aware of it happening to our friends or family as it usually occurs behind closed doors. 

The term domestic abuse covers a wide range of behavioural traits. It can include physical abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, sexual abuse and/or financial abuse.

What are the legal remedies for domestic violence and abuse?

The Family Homes and Domestic Violence (N.I) Order 1998 is the legislative framework which allows victims of domestic violence/abuse to apply for protective civil orders.

What are the civil orders that can be applied for?

A Non-Molestation Order is an order that a judge can grant to stop or prevent a person from abusing, harassing, pestering, using or threatening to use violence against another person in any way. 

An Occupation Order is an order that a judge can make to declare who has the right to occupy a property. An occupation order may be used as a complementary order to the non-molestation order or as a standalone order.

Emergency Order (Ex-Parte Orders)

Both a non-molestation order and an occupation order can be made by an ex parte application. If there has been a recent (usually within seven days) incident of abuse a victim can make an emergency application to the court for either a non-molestation order or an occupation order or both.

Who can apply for Orders?

In general, a victim can apply for an order against someone who is a family member or has lived with them in a familial relationship.

What does it cost?

Everyone applying for a non-molestation order and or a non-molestation order combined with an occupation order is eligible for legal aid. A financial assessment for legal aid is carried out on a Green Form by a McPartland & Sons Solicitor.

Stalking and Harassment

Stalking and Harassment are dealt with under The Protection from Harassment (NI) Order 1997. Restraining Orders are dealt with under The Protection from Harassment (NI) Order 1997 (section 3) Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2009 (section 13)

Harassment is repeated and unwanted behaviour/conduct by the alleged perpetrator which causes the victim alarm or distress. For example: Frequent, unwanted contact, telephone calls, emails, driving past the victim’s home or work, following, or watching, sending letters or unwanted ‘gifts’.

Stalking is a broad term used to describe a particular kind of harassment. It is normally used to describe a long-term pattern of persistent and repeated following of the victim, communication with them or other intrusions into their privacy.

What other options are available in legal terms for victims of domestic violence and abuse?

A civil injunction is any order requiring a person to take a certain step (a mandatory injunction) or preventing him or her from doing something (a prohibitor injunction). This option may be used when there are no familial relationships.

An undertaking is a solemn promise from one party to another to do something. Undertakings have no legal basis and cannot be actioned by the police.

How can McPartland & Sons Solicitors help?

When you’ve got the support of loved ones, you’ll also want to seek the help of those who can legally seek justice on your behalf. Our solicitor will need evidence based on:

  • The relationship with the person in question
  • Any police or social services involvement
  • If an Occupation Order is required 
  • does the alleged perpetrator have other accommodation
  • Details of the domestic abuse which took place
  • Contact with GP or hospital because of the alleged perpetrator
  • Details of any historical incidents of domestic abuse

What happens at family court?

  1. You will be met by your Solicitor 
  2. The Solicitor will take you through your statement, and ask you to sign it and the Court application form (Form F1). These documents are lodged with the Court 
  3. You will be asked to come into the Courtroom and the Solicitor will take you through your statement to the Judge 
  4. The Judge may ask you questions directly 
  5. The Judge will decide whether to issue the Orders

Contact us for more information

We at Harry McPartland & Sons have a team of dedicated and trusted solicitors who have experience with domestic violence cases. We work to get the best outcome for our clients. Find out our contact details here.

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