Children are often the forgotten victims of domestic violence and it is estimated that at least 750,000 children a year witness domestic violence (Department of Health, 2002).
The Children Act 1989 has been amended to recognise that simply witnessing or overhearing domestic violence causes harm to children and is therefore very relevant when considering child contact issues.
At Watson Ramsbottom we will advise in relation to the children from a domestic violence perspective. Children are often used as a means of furthering the abuse of the victim and it may be necessary to obtain specific Orders with regard to the children such as:
Prohibited Steps Order
A Prohibited Steps Order is a type of Family Arrangement Order which prevents another person including a parent from removing a child from the care and control of the person with the benefit of the Order. This would prevent the other parent from removing the children from school without consent. Without such an Order the school and nursery are powerless to prevent removal if the other person has parental responsibility so these Orders are often vital to protect the children.
Many perpetrators are able to continue their abuse of the victim through Child Contact Arrangements which can put not only the victim at risk but also the children. It is therefore vital that you obtain expert advice in relation to this issue if you have been a victim of domestic violence.
If you have suffered domestic violence it may be possible to obtain legal aid in relation to disputes around children (– see can I get legal aid.)
The domestic violence department will ensure that you are seen straight away without the need to wait for an appointment if your situation is urgent. In urgent cases we will also endeavour to get you into Court within 24 hours to obtain the necessary protective Orders for yourself and your children.
Financial maintenance is very rarely dealt with by the court. You can use the Child Maintenance Calculator on the www.gov.uk website at this link to calculate a maintenance estimate. Please contact us if you require further advice.
For more information regarding domestic violence related issues – see the Domestic Abuse Lawyer Blog written by Rachel Horman