Whilst for many the only problem being required to stay at home is boredom, for others it is the requirement to stay in the same house as the person who is being domestically abusive to them. Domestic abuse takes many forms physical, emotional and financial. It affects both women and men, from all backgrounds, all ages and all social classes. There is no “typical” victim or perpetrator.
Whilst the government advice is to stay at home, if you are at risk, you still are able to leave your home and go to a refuge.
It is possible that the situation at home might be exacerbated by the current situation with pressures on employment, finances and relationships.
What should you do if you are a victim of domestic abuse during this period?
Firstly if you believe you are in immediate danger you should still call “999” and request help from the police.
If you cannot speak, you at least need to make a sound, cough or bang the phone against something and then once prompted by the automated system press 55. A silent call will not be dealt with by the police unless you take these steps. Whilst the government advice is to stay at home, if you are at risk, you still are able to leave your home and go to a refuge.
What other steps can you take?
It has been suggested that keeping your mobile full charged is useful to enable you to ask for help should you require it. You can keep a diary and tell others you trust plus there are apps like Bright Sky that can be used.
Mark Brooks, the Chairman of ManKind Initiative says “We know that many men fear they will not be believed by the police or be taken seriously by the legal system in general. About ten years ago, we would agree but that is not the case now, even more so if you have evidence. They do take men seriously and will provide help, so please do contact them. There is nothing wrong in taking a trusted friend or family member with you when you do contact them. You can also ring helplines like ours and we can talk you through how to approach the police or solicitors.”
Olive Craig, from Rights Of Women says “For the women and children we support, the home is not a safe place. We are really worried about victims of domestic abuse who are now trapped at home with the abuser all of the time but specialist services are adapting so that those women are able to access some support including moving services online. The family court is still open and will prioritise emergency hearings. Services like FLOWS can help women access injunctions from the court and have an online contact form that is easy to fill in and you just need to tell them the safest way to contact you. Our advice lines remain open and we can give victims free legal advice on any family law issues.
But what happens if you require an emergency protective court order?
The courts are still open, and will be dealing with emergency applications. Solicitors are also still open and will be able to assist clients who require emergency orders.
However rather than visiting the solicitor, an appointment will be conducted via the telephone or video calling. The solicitor will take instructions and will provide advice about the most appropriate order to be applied for. Legal aid is still available for those who require an emergency protective order.
The court will hear the case by telephone and will then make the orders that the court believes are necessary.
If the court believes that a hearing needs to take place with the parties present, then that will be arranged. This might be using video conferencing, or if justice requires it, a hearing actually in the court building. A limited number of courts are remaining open throughout the country to facilitate emergency hearings as required. You might need to travel to a hearing, but if one is required, it will take place.
Posted on April 3, 2020