Domestic violence – not just a problem faced by women
It’s a sad fact of life that domestic abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of their social class, age, race, disability, sexuality or lifestyle.
Much of the media coverage of domestic violence issues highlights the plight of women who find themselves on the receiving end of physical, psychological, sexual or financial abuse. However, as charities who routinely deal with this problem know first-hand, it’s not just women who are affected, men can be victims too.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that for the year ending March 2016, 1.8 million people aged between 16 and 59 told the Crime Survey for England and Wales that they had experienced domestic violence. Of those, 1.2 million were female and 651,000 were male. 79% hadn’t reported their partner or ex-partner for the abuse. As this is still an under-reported crime, the chances are the actual figure may be much higher.
It’s estimated that one in six men will suffer from domestic abuse in their lifetime. Research shows that male victims are more than twice as likely not to tell anyone about the abuse they are suffering. Only 10 per cent of male victims report the issue to the police. Men who are victims of domestic violence can find themselves in a particularly difficult position, as there are few local support services they can call on, or organisations that provide refuge or safe house provision for men.
The law is there to protect men and women
It’s a common misconception that the law is only there for the benefit of women, but the reality is that both men and women have the same right to protection from domestic abuse. There are both civil and criminal remedies that can be used in these situations.
Domestic abuse cases can be prosecuted as common assault, although depending on the nature of the offence they can also be prosecuted as criminal damage, threat to kill, harassment, threatening behaviour or sexual assault.
A non-molestation order
This is a type of injunction which is aimed at stopping a partner or ex-partner from using or threatening violence against the victim, or intimidating, harassing or pestering them, is used in order to ensure their health, safety and well-being. It also provides protection for the victim’s children.
An occupation order
This is an order issued by the court that sets out who has the right to stay, return or be excluded from a family home. It can prevent the abusive partner from entering the property or being in the vicinity. While an occupation order does not affect the ownership of the property, it can determine the short-term right of a person to live there. If the victim doesn’t feel safe continuing to live with their partner, or they have left home because of the violence but wish to return, then taking out an occupation order can be an appropriate step to take.
How we can help
If you have suffered actual violence or harassment, the Attwaters Jameson Hill Family Law team can help you apply to the Court for an Order or an Injunction to protect you or make your partner move out of your house. If you are affected by this issue, then please contact us for a confidential discussion of your situation.