At Family Law in Partnership, your safety and wellbeing and that of your children are our priority

Abuse in Relationships

Domestic abuse is not uncommon When you are in an abusive relationship, we can act quickly to protect you and your children


In this section

We understand that acknowledging and accepting that you are in an abusive relationship is one of the hardest things anyone can do. Taking the necessary steps to prevent further abuse can be even harder. At Family Law in Partnership, our experienced legal team are able to act quickly and, if necessary, can seek an order from the court to protect you and your children when domestic abuse is taking place.

Sadly, domestic abuse is very common. Anyone can experience domestic abuse regardless of race, ethnic or religious group, sex, class, age, disability or lifestyle. There are simply no boundaries.

What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse occurs when someone close to you, often your spouse or partner, causes you physical, psychological, sexual, financial or emotional harm. The abuse can be actual or threatened and can happen once every so often or on a regular basis.

It is a misconception that, in order for you to be in an abusive relationship, there must be physical violence. In many cases, there is no physical violence. Instead, psychological and emotional abuse may play a huge part in the relationship.

Domestic abuse can take many forms. Other than physical violence and threats of violence, you may feel intimidated by things that are said to you by your partner or the manner in which you are treated. You may be prevented from spending time with friends or family. You may be cut off financially. You may be constantly berated by your partner at home or in front of others.

In December 2015, a new offence criminalising controlling and/or coercive behaviour was introduced. It was designed to cover the scenario where there is a pattern of behaviour – acts, assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse over the course of time which is used to harm, punish or frighten the victim or where someone exerts excessive control in a relationship, often isolating a person from sources of support. It was introduced to deal with the situation where the individual instances of such behaviour in isolation would not in themselves be sufficient to constitute abuse. If a perpetrator is found guilty, the offence carries a maximum 5 years’ imprisonment, a fine or both.

Applying to Court

If you consider yourself to be in an abusive relationship, our team of experienced family lawyers can talk you through all the options available to you. Often this will involve helping you to apply to the civil court for an injunction order. An injunction order can provide a breathing space for you to recover in the interim and make decisions about the future. It can prohibit further abuse (a Non-Molestation Order) and exclude the perpetrator from the home (an Occupation Order).

Non-Molestation Orders (and, in exceptional cases, Occupation Orders) can be granted by the court urgently on the day the application is issued. Such emergency orders will often be applied for ‘without notice’ to your partner. This means that your partner will not have advanced warning that you are going to Court to address any immediate safety concerns.

How we can help you

Our specialist family lawyers can provide you with clear and sound advice, helping you take the steps required to remove yourself from a potentially dangerous situation. We will help you to put in place the best possible arrangements for the long term safety of you and your children, if necessary. Our team of highly experienced counsellors and family consultants is also on hand to help your family come to terms with the emotional issues involved.

We will prioritise your safety in the first instance but will then be in a position to focus on advising you in relation to your separation, future arrangements in relation to your children and associated financial matters. We will handle your case with the sensitivity required bearing in mind the context of your separation and continue to place your safety and that of your family at the heart of our considerations.

As a firm, Family Law in Partnership provides financial support to the National Domestic Violence Helpline. Director Helen Greenfield has a particular expertise in helping those who have been affected by domestic abuse. Contact Helen at E: or T: 020 7420 5000.

You may find the following resources helpful:

Protecting Victims of Domestic Abuse in the Family Courts

Domestic Violence Orders Are On the Rise

Domestic Violence, Divorce and Children

Domestic Abuse & Children: Revised Practice Direction 12J

Tackling Domestic Violence – the Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill

The Sara Charlton Foundation

National Domestic Violence Helpline Guidance: Domestic Violence and Abuse