The Scourge of Domestic Violence
By Alison Fielden & Co
recent storyline in “The Archers” about the abusive relationship
between the fictional characters Rob and Helen has had widespread
coverage and has caught the imagination of many,. It is not difficult to
Despite many attempts to educate and reform
those who might resort to abusive behaviour, it remains one of the
greatest problems in domestic life.
What is domestic abuse?
abuse covers a wide range of types of behaviour which has an adverse
effect on the person at whom it is directed. The Government defines it
"Any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse
(psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults
who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of
gender or sexuality."
can be physically injured, sometimes seriously. There are more murders
arising from incidents between cohabiting partners (married or not) than
any other single category or group of people.
Even if the
physical injury is not fatal, it can be serious and need medical
treatment. In really worrying cases, the victim presents to the doctor
accompanied by the perpetrator and attempts to cast a web of deception
over the way in which the injuries occurred. Of itself, that is a form
of domestic abuse with the victim placed in a position where all sense
of free will has been removed.
Emotional or psychological harm
victims do not sustain obvious physical injury but are emotionally or
psychologically harmed. The classic effects of controlling behaviour on
the victim can include:
· A conviction in the mind of the victim that everything was her/his “fault”
· an unwillingness to believe or accept that the behaviour of the perpetrator was unacceptable and abnormal
· a removal of contact between the victim and her/his friends and family
· an increasing feeling of paranoia
· an inability to talk about the problem
Can children be affected by witnessing domestic abuse?
is now well established that children exposed, even indirectly, to
domestic abuse can be adversely affected. Indeed, social services
departments often regard domestic abuse between parents as being one of
the primary reasons to consider safeguarding measures for children.
is not only the potential for physical involvement in the future which
can harm children. It is also the fact that children who have seen
parents behave in that way, can assimilate such behaviour into their own
views of how domestic life is or can be lived. Thus there is fed a
vicious and perpetuating circle of abuse extending from one generation
to the next.
What can I do if I am a victim?
victims of domestic abuse feel ashamed, although of course nothing they
have done can ever justify such a response from their partner. It can
take much bravery on the part of the victim to take active steps for
their own protection and that of the children.
abuse is a crime. The Police will take reports of such behaviour
seriously. Whether or not a prosecution will follow usually depends on
the evidence that is available.
Consult Alison Fielden & Co
There is a range of laws which are available to protect victims of domestic abuse.
These include the obtaining of:
· a family court injunction directed to the perpetrator ordering that behaviour to cease.
· an order requiring the perpetrator to move out of the family home
an order preventing the perpetrator from entering into an area
close to the family home, the work place of the victim or the school
attended by the children
· an order preventing the
perpetrator from removing the children from the care of the other parent
except on terms set out in the court order
· an order regulating where the children are to live.
breach of any such orders could lead to arrest and criminal conviction,
with the possibility of a custodial sentence. Alternatively, the
perpetrator could be sent to prison by the family court.
Alison Fielden & Co both Heather Weavill and Steven Barratt have
many years experience dealing with such cases, telephone 01285 653261,
legal aid may be available.