4 September 2013

DID you know that domestic violence accounts for one out of five of all recorded violent crime in Northern Ireland?

Recent PSNI statistics have shown that police respond to a domestic incident on average once every 23 minutes - but still believe there are a large number of incidents left unreported.

Domestic violence can take the form of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse and can be psychological, physical, verbal, sexual, financial or emotional.

If you are a victim of domestic abuse it is important that, as well as reporting it to the police, you talk to someone - a friend, relative, your GP or someone you can trust.

It is also important that you seek the protection of the law. At Higgins Hollywood Deazley Solicitors, our family law department have extensive experience of dealing with domestic abuse victims and understand the importance of an understanding and compassionate approach.

Domestic violence legislation allows you to apply to the Court for various protective orders. The Court can make orders on an ex parte basis, which means the perpetrator does not know in advance that an order has been sought.

You can apply for a Non-Molestation Order to prevent you from being molested, harassed or placed under threat of violence. You can apply for an Occupation Order to remove someone from the property or to regulate who resides in the property.

It is important to seek legal advice as soon as practically possible after any incident of abuse. Under a scheme run by the Legal Services Commission, all abuse victims are entitled to receive legal aid even if you are working.

Jenna Boyce, one of the solicitors at Higgins Hollywood Deazley's family department, understands that for a lot of victims, seeking help is often the most difficult thing to do.
"We realise that this can be an extremely stressful time and there are many other questions that victims of domestic abuse may have," she said.
"How will this affect the children? How will I survive financially? Will the police prosecute? Will Social Services get involved? We are here to answer those questions, walk you through the process step by step and ensure you obtain the protection that you need."

If you are or have been the victim of domestic abuse, call Higgins Hollywood Deazley Solicitors and speak to one of our specialist family solicitors or make an emergency appointment.

Should you have any other family law query, in relation to contact, residence, separation, divorce or any issues with Social Services, contact our office on 028 90 770770 or e-mail, or for advice and a free initial consultation.

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