How To Protect Yourself From Domestic Abuse

There are many victims of domestic abuse within a relationship who are unaware as to how they can protect themselves against further abuse, either physical or emotional.

In such circumstances it is quite common for the victim to seek the assistance of the police. In many cases, the victim does not receive the assistance they require from the police as the incident does not meet the threshold in order for the police to take further steps. Consequently, the perpetrator is unpunished.

In such a scenario, many victims are unaware of what to do and where to turn for further support. Victims of domestic abuse have the option of applying for court orders which will provide them with a higher level of protection. A victim can apply for a Non Molestation Order through the family courts and such an order, if granted by the court, would ensure that the perpetrator is unable to threaten or use violence against the applicant, intimidate, threaten or pester that person. The order can also ensure that the offender is forbidden from communicating with the victim by any means and forbidden from using a third party to contact that person. If such an order is breached, it would constitute a criminal offence and the police would need to investigate further as to whether they initiate criminal proceedings.

If the parties live at the same property at the time of the application, a further order can be applied for which removes the perpetrator from the property. This is an Occupation Order and the court will decide, when considering such an application, whether there is suitable accommodation for the offender to move to. The Court will make a decision based on the risk of harm the victim is exposed to whilst continuing to live with the offender, balanced against the risk of harm to the perpetrator if they were removed from their home.

These applications can also be made without the perpetrator being given notice of the application, if the order is being applied for under urgent circumstances. An example of when this application would be made without notice to the other party would be if the applicant has serious concerns as to the other party’s reaction, if they were to be made aware of the application, prior to an Order being granted. In such a case, it would be in the victim’s best interests to obtain the necessary orders for their protection, before the other party is made aware of the application.

It is important to remember that as a victim of domestic abuse, there are other options available, besides the assistance of the police.

If you require advice or assistance in regard to a family related issue, please contact Rebecca Smith on 01787 880440 or email

Written by Rebecca Smith – Bates Wells & Braithwaite – 01787 880440

Rebecca Smith

Rebecca joined Bates Wells and Braithwaite in February 2019. Rebecca initially qualified as a Legal Executive and later as a Solicitor. She has over fifteen years’ experience in a wide range of family disputes having previously trained and worked as a family solicitor in Bury St Edmunds.

Rebecca approved by the Law Society Family Law Accreditation Scheme and is a member of Resolution.

In her spare time, Rebecca enjoys horse-riding, walking and cooking with family and friends.


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Last updated: 15/07/2021