The UK Office for National Statistics issued a report in November of last year, highlighting that domestic abuse cases rose significantly during the pandemic. Unfortunately, since people are still not free to go out of their homes, there is a high possibility that they will continue to see an increase in these cases. Given this fact, now more than ever is the right time to keep yourself and your family members safe from any forms of abuse. If you’re part of the rising statistic, know that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Talk to a domestic abuse solicitor and understand your legal options.
What counts as domestic abuse?
Women’s Aid defines domestic abuse as a pattern of incidents or circumstances that involve control, coercion, threats, violent and degrading behaviour, and even sexual violence committed by a spouse, partner, ex-partner, or any family member, guardian, or carer. Though the abuser can either be a man or woman, statistics reveal that most cases involve men as perpetrators. Domestic abuse can include the following:
- Coercive control or patterns of isolation, degradation, intimidation, and control coupled with physical or sexual violence
- Emotional or psychological abuse
- Sexual or physical abuse
- Economic or financial abuse
- Stalking and all forms of harassment
- Digital or online abuse
How can a domestic abuse solicitor help you?
Though you can always represent yourself or a loved one in a domestic abuse case, you got better things to do — heal and keep yourselves safe pending litigation. So, the most level-headed person who can take on your case, defend you when you have to go to court, and lead you on your road to victory is your lawyer.
First and foremost, your domestic abuse lawyer will assess your situation, determine the facts of the case, and ask the hard questions to build your case. After hearing your narrative and painting a clearer picture of your current circumstance, he will suggest the best courses of action that you should take to protect and vindicate your rights. This might involve filing an emergency protection order, child arrangements order, or temporary restraining order in the appropriate court. His suggested courses of action will also most likely result in filing a criminal and civil case in court.
When your case reaches the court, your lawyer will draft your Affidavit Complaint, ensure that it follows the proper form, submits the same to the appropriate court, and ensure that the other party is notified of the said complaint.
Your lawyer will also ensure that the other party observes the procedural due process in answering the affidavit. Should the other party fail to comply with the same, your lawyer will raise the matter and petition the court to rule the case ex-parte. If your case reaches the litigation stage, your lawyer will be the one to interpellate all the witnesses brought to court. Aside from that, he will also screen the pieces of evidence presented and make necessary objections.
His role doesn’t end after the hearing. When you win the case, he will also ensure that the court order will be implemented according to its letters and intent. In other words, he will be your ally from the start until the final stage of your domestic abuse case.
Given the crucial role of a lawyer in a domestic abuse case, it, therefore, follows that you should be careful in choosing one. Know your options, research, and choose a lawyer who is more than capable of advancing your cause and winning your case.