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26 Domestic Violence, Abuse and Harassment

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1 Introduction

2. What can I do if someone in my family is abusing me?

You can take practical steps to make yourself safe, and legal steps to try to stop it happening again. This leaflet describes both. It mostly describes what to do if your partner is abusing you, but there is a section in this leaflet about other abusive family relationships.

What if I think it's my fault?
However you think the problem started, you still have a right not to experience violence or abuse. There are laws to protect you, even if you feel that you started the argument or whatever led to the abuse. Domestic abuse is wrong, whatever the circumstances.

What if it has happened before?
You can still take action, whether this is the first time it has happened or whether it has happened repeatedly. You can get protection even if you have already had help and then got together again with your partner. Don't be afraid to ask for help again over problems with your partner. The law is still there to protect you.

What if I just want to be safe but don't want the other person to be punished?
There are several ways of dealing with violence and abuse. You don't have to go all the way to a court case if doing something else will protect you. However, if the police are involved, the case can go to court, even if you don't want it to, depending on how serious the crime was, and how much evidence they have.

3. Practical things to do if you are being abused

4. Taking legal steps

5. What the police can do for you

6. What a solicitor can do for you

7. Court orders you can get to protect you

8. How a court order protects you

9. What if the person abusing me is not my partner?

10. How can I help someone who is being abused?

11. Terms used in matters to do with domestic abuse

12. Further help

13. About this leaflet

This leaflet is published by the Legal Services Commission (LSC). It was written in association with Imogen Clout, a solicitor specialising in family law.

The leaflets are regularly updated but the law may have changed since they were printed so the information in them may be incorrect or out of date.

Leaflet version: January 2016

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Last updated on 19 January 2016

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