Domestic abuseProtecting yourself and your family
Domestic abuse (often called domestic violence) includes not only physical violence but also sexual, emotional, psychological and financial abuse. It includes bullying, intimidation and harassment. Nobody should live in fear of abuse. The law is there to protect people suffering or at risk of suffering abuse.
Experiencing domestic abuse affects your entire family and is emotionally harmful for your children. We know that breaking free from an abusive relationship can be extremely difficult. Our team of specialist lawyers and advisers are here to help you find the right solution to make you and your family safe. This might involve an urgent application to court for a non-molestation order or an order asking the abuser to leave the home in which you’re living. It might include a warning letter or a series of negotiations. Our expert team will listen to you, discuss your needs and advise you on the options open to you and their likely consequences.
We are running an emergency out of hours service until 10pm on weekdays for clients who feel themselves to be at risk so that they have an additional opportunity to contact us.
Economic abuse is a form of abuse when one intimate partner has control over the other partner’s access to economic resources, which diminishes the victim’s capacity to support themselves and forces them to depend on the perpetrator financially. It is related to, or also known as, financial abuse, which is the illegal or unauthorised use of a person’s property, money, pension book or other valuables. Women are disproportionately affected by economic abuse, which can also be within the context of intimate parter violence or wider abuse.
Economic abuse can involve a range of behaviours.
Four different ‘types’ of economic abuse have been identified (Sharp, 2008)
1. Preventing acquisition of economic resources
Such as interfering with/sabotaging partner’s education, training and employment; insisting that partner’s wages are paid into the perpetrator’s bank account; preventing partner from claiming welfare benefits; denying partner access to personal/joint bank account.
2. Controlling access to / preventing use of individual / shared economic resources
Such as making partner ask for money; demanding to know how money is spent; monitoring expenditure i.e. checking receipts and bank statements; keeping financial information secret; making important financial decisions without discussing them first; making partner ask to use car; threatening to throw partner out.
3. Refusing to contribute by withholding financial support for the household
Such as refusing to contribute towards household bills and the cost of bringing up children, whilst spending own money on non-essential items.
4. Exploiting economic resources and / or generating economic costs
Such as making partner work for personal/jointly owned business with no pay; using coercion/fraud to build up debt in partner’s name; spending money needed for bills; putting all financial liabilities in partner’s name; destroying household goods and personal items; stealing from partner’s purse.
If you or your family are at immediate risk of harm, you should contact the police straight away. Abuse includes physical abuse but also emotional or sexual abuse, intimidation and financial abuse. We have an emergency steps team who are trained to advise and assist urgently to secure you and your family the immediate protection you need. We are specially trained in this area to understand your needs both legally and emotionally and will work together with other agencies to give you the practical and emotional help that you need.
Our emergency steps team can secure a protective injunction for your family within 24 hours and can advise you on the longer term options for ensuring your safety.
If you, or somebody you know, has been physically threatened or emotionally blackmailed into a marriage which they do not want or they have been unable to come back to the UK because they have been forced into marriage abroad, our team of experts can help.
This is a complex area of law and seeing a specialist is extremely important. We represent victims of forced marriage and honour based violence. We have good links to all the support agencies working in this area to provide you with ongoing help and support from both a legal, practical and emotional perspective.
Supporting our clients
We are here to help you find the right emotional and practical support whatever decision you make. We work with domestic abuse agencies nationally and receive referrals throughout the country. Our dedicated team can ensure that any necessary court application is made within 24 hours wherever possible and once you and your family are safe. We will take the time to understand any further needs that you have so that you can consider your options from a position of safety.
- We have a dedicated team of 15 lawyers working hard to ensure clients get the best service possible. We aim to reach everybody and our clients range from high net worth individuals to those reliant upon legal aid.
- We have a specially trained emergency steps team to provide urgent help for those who need it most to protect themselves and their families in an emergency.
- We provide legal aid for those eligible and affordable rates for those who are not eligible.
- We actively promote a conciliatory approach to dispute resolution wherever safe and possible to do so.
- We undertake specific work for free.
Flows – Finding Legal Options for Women Survivors
FLOWS offers free legal advice and support to front-line workers working with women responding to domestic abuse – and advise women themselves. Beck Fitzgerald are proud to be a part of the FLOWS network.