Domestic Abuse Journey

Domestic abuse is never a straightforward matter, and from experience we know that there is no such thing as a “typical” victim or perpetrator: they can be of any background, any age, and any gender. The term “domestic abuse” also covers a wide range of behaviours, from physical violence to emotional abuse, and from controlling behaviour (in which the perpetrator commits a series of acts to try to make the victim subordinate/dependent) to economic abuse (in which the perpetrator’s behaviour seriously affects the victim’s ability to use or obtain goods and services).

 At Horsey Lightly we understand that anyone who walks through the door may have experienced one or several of these behaviours, and that they may have already been in contact with the police or a domestic abuse charity, who have advised them to engage a solicitor. We also know that this is by no means an easy step to take, and we are here to help.

To stop your partner from contacting you and/or attending your property

We can help you to apply for a Non-Molestation Order and/or Occupation Order, which can prevent your partner from contacting you and potentially keep them away from your home for six or twelve months (you can also apply for an extension if necessary). If your partner breaks the terms of the Order this is an arrestable offence. There is also no Court fee to apply for either of these Orders (although you would need to pay solicitor’s fees if you engage us to assist you in making the application).

We can help you through the application process step-by-step, ensure that any Court deadlines are met, and get you on the right track to feeling safe and secure in your own home.

To divorce your partner

If you and your partner are married, and either before or after you have applied for one or both of the Orders above, we can help you to end your marriage safely and securely. From applying for divorce (which will officially end the marriage) to organising your finances and ensuring the right contact arrangements are put in place for any children of the relationship, we are on hand to ensure that the process is as smooth as possible. This can be done through negotiation between solicitors, or by going to Court or both (i.e. negotiations begin but it is not possible to reach an agreement without the Court’s assistance) – either way you do not have to deal personally with your partner at any stage.

It is vital that cases involving domestic abuse of any kind are handled sensitively, swiftly, and robustly, so that we can ensure that you come away with the right agreements in place for your situation. Domestic abuse in law has recently undergone something of a shakeup, with new measures in place to make sure that the Courts are fully equipped to deal with these cases properly: for example, it is now guaranteed that a victim will not be cross-examined by a perpetrator in Court, and the Court are being encouraged to look at a perpetrator’s whole pattern of behaviour when determining the impact of the abuse on the victim, not just isolated incidents of violence or coercion.

It is important to understand that the Family Court is not the same as the Criminal Court, and does not have the power to punish perpetrators in the way the criminal justice system is designed to. Nonetheless, if your ex is a danger to your children, or has been financially controlling or abusive, the Family Court does have the power to stop them from having contact with the children, and may take their behaviour into account when determining who gets what in the financial settlement. We can advise you as to the best ways to argue your case for a fair and appropriate outcome, whatever the circumstances.


The end of any marriage is a difficult time, and none more so than when there are allegations of domestic abuse involved. We therefore hope to be able to support you both practically and emotionally through the process, making sure that you end up with what you need to be able move forward. 

Alison Whistler Solicitor

If you want advice on divorce, separation or family matters, then get in touch with our friendly Family Law team on 01635 580858.

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