Domestic abuse guidance and advice

Do any of the following behaviours feel familiar to you?

  1.   Do you change your behaviour because you are frightened of your partner’s reaction

  2.   Is your partner jealous and possessive

  3.   Do you feel like you are walking on eggshells

  4.   Do you feel controlled or isolated

It is often difficult to spot the signs of abuse when you are in a relationship with your abuser, but if any of the above behaviours feel familiar to you, it is likely that you are in an abusive relationship and you should seek relevant support. Domestic abuse can come in a number of different forms and does not have to be physical – it also includes emotional, psychological, sexual, financial, coercive control and isolating people. Domestic abuse can happen to anyone regardless of age, religion, gender, sexuality or background. This article will set out several practical tips that you should take if you have been a victim of domestic abuse and how we can help.

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Topics to be answered in this article

What to do if you are in immediate danger

Although it is important to take legal advice as soon as possible, often you need to take some initial practical steps such as calling the police, calling people within your support network, calling a domestic abuse helpline and making a safety plan. Women’s Aid have useful information about making a safety plan which applies to both men and women, including advice if you decide to leave.

During the lockdown and COVID-19 pandemic it became very difficult for victims to seek support and a number of local pharmacies signed up to an initiative to provide a safe forum for victims and specialist support.

Once you have taken practical steps and you feel safe to contact a domestic abuse solicitor, they will be able to provide advice in relation to court orders that can prevent your partner from contacting you, coming to your property and attempting to contact any children of the family.

Providing safety for children

It is often common for abusers to use children and child contact as a method of control. Often, any children are used as weapons and they may try to turn them against you. This can continue even after one party has left the relationship. Women’s Aid suggest that one in seven (14.2%) of children and young people under the age of 18 will have lived with domestic violence at some point in their childhood. There is research to suggest that children will be affected if they are exposed to high conflict situations and it is therefore important to ensure that you take steps to safeguard the welfare of any minor children and take advice as soon as you can.

Where there are allegations of abuse against one parent it may be appropriate to put safeguards in place before a child spends time with that parent. It may be that it is not suitable for a child to spend time with the abusive partner or that their time together is supported by a third party. Sometimes it might be appropriate for Social Services to become involved so they can speak with both parents to give their views about contact arrangements. If you are not sure where you should turn, there are a number of charities and organisations that can provide some initial advice such as:

  1. National Domestic Abuse Helpline; Home | Refuge National Domestic Abuse Helpline (

  2. Refuge; Freephone National Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0808 2000 247 (

  3. Women’s Aid; Covid-19 Resource Hub: Support resources – Womens Aid

  4. Men’s Advice Line; Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men | Men’s Advice Line UK

  5. Galop (National LGBT+ helpline); Galop – the LGBT+ anti-abuse charity – Galop has provided advice, support, research and lobbying around the issues of LGBT+ policing for over 30 years.

  6. Childline Childline | Childline

  7. Safelives Home | Safelives

Specialist help and support for women

Rights for Women have an online library of information about the law on domestic violence which you can find here: Family law – Rights of Women.

FLOWS stands for finding legal options for women survivors and offers a legal support service which seeks to protect the woman from domestic abuse. Visit their website here FLOWS | Finding Legal Options for Women Survivors.

Specialist help and support for male victims

It is a common misconception that only women are victims of domestic abuse and although there is a lot of research regarding this, men can also be victims, but it may take them longer to seek support. The Men’s Advice Line or Mankind provide support for victims of domestic abuse. This is a confidential forum where men can seek support and signpost to other vital services that help keep them and their children safe.

How Goughs can help

The law provides a variety of remedies to protect victims of domestic abuse and you should not delay in seeking help, support and advice. Goughs can provide advice in relation to injunctions and alternative options if you do not wish to seek the protection of a court injunction. You may also need advice in relation to the arrangements concerning any children party to the relationship and it is important that you call one of our specialist domestic abuse lawyers at the earliest opportunity. 

Some of the most emotional and difficult situations we deal with are those where someone is trying to leave an  abusive relationship. Often, people might not be aware of the extent to which they are being abused as they have become accustomed to life in that way.

If you have been affected by domestic abuse, Goughs is here to support you. Please get in touch with our family team today. We will discuss your situation with you, help you understand your legal options, and support you throughout the process.

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Author Bio

Alice Blackmore

I qualified as a Solicitor in October 2016 and previously worked at a firm in Plymouth before moving to Bath. I joined Goughs in January 2020 and was promoted to Associate in April 2021 then Senior Associate in April 2023. I am a member of the Family Law Panel and I am experienced in dealing with all areas of family law including disputes involving children, divorce, separation, finances, and cohabitation.

I have frequently assisted clients with Non-Molestation Orders and Occupation Orders. I regularly attend court in relation to disputes involving children and domestic abuse issues to represent clients. These are areas that I have a particular interest in. I also have close links with domestic abuse organisations in the local area and am a member of The Family Law Panel’s Green Phone Scheme initiative.

I am a Resolution member and an active member of YRes. Resolution promotes trying to resolve matters in a constructive and non-confrontational way. I pride myself on encouraging parties, where possible, to resolve matters in an amicable way and to put the needs of any children first to ensure they make positive decisions.

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