Domestic Abuse

If you believe you are in immediate danger, you should contact 999 for police assistance.

What is domestic abuse and what does it mean?

Domestic abuse can take a variety of forms - physical, emotional, financial or sexual. When it occurs, swift and positive action is key to preventing repeated occurrences. As well as directly affecting the parties involved, it can have huge repercussions on family, friends and children.

We have specialist lawyers who have experience in dealing with a variety of domestic abuse cases, so please get in touch and let us explain more about what we can do.

How to report domestic abuse

Call 999 immediately. Emergency services can help you if you are in immediate danger. You should still contact the police if you are experiencing any type of domestic abuse. The law is there to protect you and the police can warn the perpetrator to refrain from making any type of contact or they risk being arrested.

In certain cases, it is possible to apply to the Court for an injunction prohibiting someone from pestering, intimidating or behaving violently. It may also be possible to obtain a Court Order to have someone removed from a home or prevented from visiting it, known as an Occupcation Order.

All very painless and professional given the circumstances.

Depending on the case, injunctions can be issued quickly on an emergency basis by the Court. Failure to comply with an injunction may be punishable by imprisonment or other sanction, depending upon the severity of the non-compliance.

Children and domestic violence

When children are witnesses to domestic violence, it can have a huge negative impact on their emotional wellbeing, even more so if they are victims of domestic abuse. In order to protect children from domestic violence and abuse, the same actions should be taken that are mentioned above.

How does domestic violence affect arrangements for the Children?

The amount of time a child spends with each parent can be determined in several ways. As part of a normal divorce procedure, parents should come to amicable terms regarding where their children will live. If parents cannot come to an amicable decision, either parent can ask the court to decide.

When it comes to children involved in domestic abuse however, contact will usually be restricted from the offending parent and assessments have to be made to ensure the safety of the child, should the child or the parent wish to maintain contact with them.

If a perpetrator does not have contact with a child or children for a period of time, and then wishes to re-establish a relationship with that child or children in the future, the court will need to evaluate certain criteria to ensure the correct child arrangements are made. The criteria includes:

  • Past behaviour of both parties
  • The motivation for wanting to make contact
  • What impact domestic violence has had on the child or children
  • Whether the offending parent recognises their past actions and are making an effort to change their behaviour.

Entitlement to Legal Aid

Please remember that you may be entitled to legal aid if you have evidence that you or your child or children have been victims of domestic abuse, and you can’t afford to pay legal costs. For those who are not eligible for legal aid, K J Smith Solicitors have a number of specialist lawyers who focus on domestic abuse cases and are willing provide cost-effective support.

Please get in touch

Whatever your circumstances, please contact us if you are suffering, feel threatened or are simply unsure of your situation and would like some legal advice. We are also proud to support local domestic abuse charities, offering support and advice to their volunteers and those they help.

We offer a free initial 45 minute consultation to give you the opportunity to meet us, before deciding if you wish to proceed in instructing us to act on your behalf.

If you require any domestic violence advice, please contact K J Smith Solicitors on 01491 630000 (Henley on Thames), 0118 418 1000 (Reading Head Office), 0118 418 1200 (Reading Central), 01256 584000 (Basingstoke), 01483 370100 (Guildford), 01494 629000 (Beaconsfield), 01235 375500 (Abingdon), 01344 513000 (Ascot) or email info@kjsmith.co.uk.

We also serve a wide range of other areas including Bracknell, Gerrards Cross, Maidenhead, Marlow, Oxford, Slough, Wokingham, and High Wycombe.

National Domestic Violence helpline: www.womensaid.org.uk

Our Office Locations

All our offices are easily accessible by road, rail or bus and we are open Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 6:00pm. With today's busy schedules, we offer telephone appointments outside normal office hours until 9pm on Thursdays and between 10am and 3pm on Saturdays.

Not sure which office is closest to you? Try our Office Finder.

If you would like to visit our team of family solicitors, we have offices in Henley-on-Thames, Woodley, Reading (Head Office), Reading (Central), Basingstoke, Guildford, Beaconsfield, Abingdon and Ascot. We serve a wide range of other areas including Bracknell, Gerrards Cross, Maidenhead, Marlow, Oxford, Slough, High Wycombe and Wokingham.

Why not contact our team of divorce solicitors for a free initial consultation today? We offer a free initial consultation that can take place in any one of our offices or over the telephone.

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