LEGAL EAGLE: ‘I want to leave my abusive partner but I feel trapped’
I have been with my partner for four years. He has always been controlling and possessive, but I have never felt strong enough to leave him.
Since the lockdown restrictions imposed by the Government last March, I have been in the house with my partner for longer periods of time, the abuse has turned physical, and it is an everyday occurrence. It has become so much that I cannot take it anymore. However, I know that if I left, my partner would try to find me and continue to harass me through family members, text messages and social media. I want to leave him, but I feel trapped and I do not know what to do.
It is good that you have found the courage to leave an abusive and controlling relationship. We firstly advise that you seek support from a professional such as an Independent Domestic Violence Advisor or your GP if you have not already done so, as they will be able to provide you with important emotional support.
In circumstances like yours where an ex-partner continues to harass you, you have two main legal options. The first being that a Solicitor could write a warning letter to your partner, warning him to stop trying to contact you otherwise you will be issuing injunction proceedings against him. Often a letter from a Solicitor is enough to stop a perpetrator.
If the abuse is too serious for a warning letter or if your partner ignores the letter, you can apply for a Family Law injunction called a Non-Molestation Order. A Non-Molestation Order would prohibit your partner from attempting to contact you, harassing, pestering, or threatening violence against you, through himself or another person. This includes through other people, text messages and social media. The Order could also prohibit your partner from coming within a certain distance from your property. Non-Molestation Orders usually last for 6 or 12 months and are a good way of calming situations down.
You can apply for a Non-Molestation Order without giving your partner notice. Once your partner is served with the Order, it will be in force and you must call the Police if he breaches the terms of the Order. Breach of a Non-Molestation Order is punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment. The court will then list your case for a return hearing which is your partners opportunity to respond. If you would like to make an appointment at one of our offices to discuss this matter further, then please do not hesitate to contact us on 0191 565 3112 or email [email protected] Visit www.benhoarebell.co.uk for further information.