Covid 19 – What happens when your home isn’t a safe place during self-isolation?
By Jo Lofthouse Raworths Solicitors
For most people during these unprecedented times our homes provide a place of safety. Sadly, for those who experience domestic abuse, home is very different place. This is a situation that often only worsens with the added stress of money worries and being forced to be with one another for 24 hours a day.
Whilst the current self-isolation rules are vital and necessary in order to protect the NHS and save lives, it is equally the case that during this time of self-isolation those living in abusive relationship are often subjected to increased control and abuse at the hands of their partner. This is also happening at a time when support services are struggling to function due to the same government guidelines and staff shortages due to illness.
What’s important to remember, is that domestic abuse does not solely impact upon people physically and it does not always leave a physical mark. Controlling and coercive behaviour is an act or pattern of acts that can include threats, intimidation, financial control or other abuse designed to make a person dependent by isolating them, depriving them of independence and regulating their behaviour.
Help is still available
It’s important to remember that legal options are still available when seeking protection from an abusive relationship including application for an injunction also known at a non-molestation order or an occupation order. In the most serious of cases this is an application that can be made to the court in the first instance without notice to the other party.
A non-molestation order is aimed at preventing abusive behaviour including prevention of communication, including phone calls and text messages but also direct contact. If a non-molestation order is breached this is a criminal offence and the perpetrator can be arrested for such a breach. An occupation order sets out who can continue to live in the family home moving forward (or for a set period of time), and excludes the other party from residing at the property.
Where can you get help?
If you are at immediate risk, you should call 999 and the police will assist. If you call 999 but are unable to speak due to the situation that you find yourself in you can press 55 on your keypad and the police will then know that you are at risk and unable to speak.
If you wish to better understand your legal options you can contact us and we can discuss these with either by telephone, if you are able to speak without your partner being aware or alternatively we can help and talk you through options via email email@example.com.
There are also a number of helplines and organisations that may be able to help you such as:
If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this blog, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our team on firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are at immediate risk, you should call 999 or and the police will assist.