The term “domestic violence” covers a wide range of behaviour from physical violence, through verbal abuse, mental abuse and bullying to pestering and harassment. All are difficult and distressing to deal with.
So what do you do if you experience domestic violence?
Your immediate course of action may be to contact the Police. Someone from the domestic violence unit should be available to talk to you, or if you need urgent assistance then the Police have a range of powers and depending on the type of behaviour may be able to arrest the other person or simply remove them from the situation.
In the longer term the Police have powers under the Protection Against Harassment Act or you can see a Solicitor and find out about obtaining a “Non-Molestation Order” with a Power of Arrest attached or an “Occupation Order” removing someone from a property or allowing you to return. A Non-Molestation Order can be obtained on an emergency basis from the Court although you will then return to Court within a short period of time to give the other person the opportunity to defend it.
In most cases a Judge will grant a Non-Molestation Order immediately, and then it is up to the other person to defend it. Judges also take a view that it is better for there to be an Order preventing behaviour which is unreasonable than having no Order at all and therefore no protection.
First Published in Kings Hill Directory in December 2006