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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?

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?

You can get an injunction in the civil court under the Family Law Act 1996 if the person abusing you is:

  • your former husband, wife or civil partner;
  • a former partner who you used to live with (who could be a same-sex partner);
  • someone you are or have been engaged to marry or become a civil partner to;
  • someone you live with or have lived with (but not your tenant or landlord, employer or an employee);
  • a relative, including half or step relatives;
  • the other parent or someone who shares parental responsibility for a child of yours; or
  • an adoptive parent of a child of yours (or someone who is due to be an adoptive parent); or
  • someone who is invloved in the same family court proceedings as you.

If the person abusing you doesn't fit in any of these categories, there are still laws that will help you. For instance, you can stop a former boyfriend or girlfriend from harassing you by using the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.

This Act gives the court power to impose restraining orders that are similar to occupation and non-molestation orders. (See 'Court orders you can get to protect you' for an explanation of these.)

If you have been the victim of violence, you can also get the help of the police, whoever has abused you. Ask to speak to the community safety officer at your local police station.

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.

Leaflet version: July 2016

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