One woman is killed every three days in the UK as a result of domestic violence, and 1 in 4 women in England and Wales will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.* These stats relate to physical abuse but domestic abuse need not be solely physical. Mental and financial abuse are also common methods of control used by abusive partners.
The stats are quite shocking – and what is equally shocking is the emotional state that those who are abused find themselves in. Fear, anger, embarrassment, shame and resentment to name but a few.
With this, comes the sense of being trapped and unable to access help. They may have been threatened by their partner, or not supported and believed by friends and family that they have tried to confide in. And so the fear of talking to a solicitor because of the possible consequences kicks in. But don’t let it.
Confidentiality: your solicitor is bound by client confidentiality. Anything and everything that you tell your solicitor is in absolute confidence. They are at risk of being struck off if they divulge any part of your case elsewhere and your solicitor is most unlikely to risk their career.
Expertise: your solicitor will have seen a case like yours dozens, perhaps hundreds of times before. They will know your rights and how you stand in the eyes of the law. They will also be able to access support networks to ensure your safety.
Understanding: your solicitor knows. He or she has seen how victims are manipulated in the past and they know that you are not weak or gullible. Those who commit domestic violence are very meticulous in their actions – particularly in the instance of mental or financial abuse – which are designed to make you feel inferior in this way.
There are three immediate actions steps that will help you break away from your abuser:
- Find and contact a family law specialist, like Robertsons. A specialist is essential to ensure that you get the expert support that you need. If you are able to visit them, remember that you can take a friend with you if you think you’ll need help remembering your discussions.
- If possible, try to begin to collect evidence to take with you. Make brief notes, keep text messages or take photos of any evidence if at all possible and if it is safe to do so.
- Trust your Solicitor. This is perhaps the most difficult of all, but they will be able to help you.
The stats we have given above related to domestic abuse to women but we see many cases of men being abused by their female partners; and indeed, abuse within same sex relationships. It can happen to anyone – not just you.
If you feel at threat within your relationship, then please, pick up the phone and call our family law team on 029 2023 7777
*www.refuge.org.uk accessed 22 August 2017