The recent measures being implemented across the country to tackle Coronavirus (COVID-19) have the potential to cause increased anxiety for those currently suffering or at risk of suffering domestic abuse.
There is increased concern among professionals that those suffering from domestic abuse may now feel even more isolated and unable to seek out help. The situation may be particularly frightening for those people that continue to live under the same roof as their abuser and current restrictions on people leaving their homes may result in an increase in domestic abuse incidents.
Help is out there and many domestic abuse charities are continuing to operate remotely in order to support those at risk. Whilst Government advice is to stay at home, anyone who is at risk of, or experiencing, domestic abuse, can leave their home to seek refuge.
The government guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-and-domestic-abuse/coronavirus-covid-19-support-for-victims-of-domestic-abuse
What should I do if I feel at risk?
If you are in immediate danger call the police on 999. The police are alert to the potential for increase in domestic abuse resulting from current restrictions and will respond to emergency calls. If you are in danger and unable to talk on the phone then call 999 and press 55. This will allow the call to be transferred to the relevant police force in your area who will be able to respond without you having to speak.
It may be possible to secure protective orders through the family court. A Non-Molestation Order can be obtained to protect you from further abuse and it may also be possible to secure an Occupation Order requiring your abuser to leave the family home. The courts remain open and able to make these orders to protect those at risk of domestic abuse.
Can court hearings still go ahead to secure protective orders?
The courts are working to ensure that urgent and important hearings go ahead and this includes any hearing for a protective injunction. These hearings are currently being conducted by telephone or video link avoiding the need for court attendance.
If you would like to speak to one of our family law specialists, regarding advice on protection from domestic abuse please contact us on 01392 207020 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org