Rogers & Norton News

Christmas is coming…but it may not always be a time for celebration

Monday, December 19, 2016

Christmas is a time for celebration.  However, the sad reality is that at this time of year the number of domestic abuse incidents increase and it can be a very difficult time for those living in fear of violence or abuse in their own homes.  Nicola Harwin, chief executive of Women’s Aid, believes that ‘Christmas can be particularly stressful for women living with violent partners, as the family is together for an extended period of time and existing abuse can intensify’.  It is not only a concern for women, as the gap between the number of male and female victims of domestic violence is now the narrowest on record, with Brian Hitchcock of Men’s Aid Charity stating ‘the truth is that an increasing proportion of people who are suffering from domestic violence are men’.

Kerry Rowell comments “The statistics in relation to domestic abuse are more worrying than ever. It has been estimated that 1 in 4 women will experience domestic abuse at some point in their lives (Crime Survey of England and Wales 2013/4) and Citizens Advice have reported an astonishing 24% rise in those seeking advice for domestic abuse.  More than a third of those attacked or abused at home are now men, according to the Office of National Statistics, going against the widely-held perception that the main victims are women.

The definition of domestic abuse now covers a wide variety of abuse, ranging from psychological and physical, to sexual and financial. New domestic abuse law came into force in England and Wales last December, making ongoing psychological and emotional torment which stops short of violence an offence and leaving the abuser facing up to 5 years in prison. Prior to this, there was no specific offence of domestic abuse, rather victims had to rely on criminal crimes relating to violence, such as common assault.

For the victim, domestic abuse can be difficult to accept and admit as you become used to being treated with seemingly playful and loving behaviour, but behaviour which makes you live in confusion, fear and unhappiness. If you are suffering from domestic abuse in your relationship, do not suffer in silence.  Everyone has the right to live without fear for their safety, and it is important that you seek legal advice and support.”

Our team understands the situations you may be facing, and the devastating effects that domestic abuse can have on your life.  We understand that dealing with an abusive partner can be incredibly difficult, and can cause the breakdown of many relationships. Our friendly and supportive solicitors can help and guide you through the process with sensitive and practical legal advice and support. We will explain the options available to you to enable you to make a fresh start and protect yourself and your loved ones.

What can we do to help?

Protect you, by:

  • Putting you in touch with the Police/emergency services if necessary
  • Court Orders
  • Putting you in touch with relevant organisations that can offer further support and advice
  • Protecting your rights to the family home.

Resolve the situation for you, through:

  • Speaking with the abuser
  • Divorce/Separation Proceedings
  • Financial settlement arrangements
  • Arrangements concerning any children you may have

Kerry Rowell, a member of Resolution and volunteer at Norfolk Community Law Service adds ‘Domestic abuse isn’t limited to men or women, rich or poor – it can affect everyone. The damage it causes can last a lifetime.  Remember you are not alone and there is always a way to break free.’

  • If you would like more information on domestic abuse and to discuss the best course of action for you, please do not hesitate to contact our Matrimonial team in Norwich on 01603 675666 or in Attleborough on 01953 453774 or you can email Kerry at kr@rogers-norton.co.uk
  • Help and support is also available from Leeway Domestic Violence & Abuse Services – a charity in Norwich with a 24 hour helpline – 0300 561 0077