Domestic Abuse - The Hidden Scars

A common misconception about domestic abuse is that a victim must bear physical scars inflicted by their tormentor. Whilst this may often be the case, there are in fact many other forms of domestic abuse, and whilst the scars may be less tangible they are by no means less serious.

Verbal, emotional or psychological mistreatment by a partner can all be categorised as forms of domestic abuse. Sadly, where these differ from the more easily identified physical abuse, is that many sufferers do not even classify themselves as victims. Domestic violence encompasses personal violence, threats, intimidation and harassment, and this can manifest itself in many ways. Controlling tendencies, manipulation, derogatory remarks and comments, as well as the alienation or manipulation of friends and family members all carry the hallmarks of domestic abuse. This behaviour does not only affect women, as an increasing number of victims are men.

In her role as Matrimonial Solicitor, Sarah O’Neill has provided advice and support for victims of many different types of domestic abuse. Because no two cases are the same, Terry Jones Solicitors adapts the advice provided to clients based on the circumstances of each individual case. Although making an application to the Courts is frequently the most appropriate remedy, alternative courses of action should always be considered.

Miss O’Neill said: “On occasions, it is more appropriate to send a formal Solicitors’ warning letter to the perpetrator of the domestic violence, warning him or her to desist from the behaviour or face the risk of Court action. This can act as a deterrent, with no further action then being necessary.”

“In cases where the victim is facing serious threats of violence, we would advise them to immediately telephone the Police who may consider it is necessary to take a statement and pursue criminal action.”

“If we assess that the victim is in imminent danger of significant harm and particularly if the Police are unwilling to take any action, we will then pursue an application to the Court. It is possible to make an application to the Court on an emergency basis, meaning that the perpetrator will not be aware that an application is being made. This is particularly necessary if the victim is in urgent need of protection.”

There are two types of orders that Terry Jones Solicitors obtains for clients:

Non-Molestation Order: This is an injunction, which prevents a person from using or threatening violence, intimidating or harassing the applicant or instructing someone else to do so on his or her behalf. Breach of the order is an automatic criminal offence, meaning that the Police can arrest the perpetrator immediately and they could then face criminal charges, including a maximum term of imprisonment for 5 years. 

Occupation Order: This order regulates who is to live in the family home and can also determine the terms of residency. The order can be extended to exclude one party from a specified area around the house if this is more appropriate.

When considering whether an order should be made, the Court has to be satisfied that the applicant has shown a genuine need for protection. The Court will consider all the circumstances, including any risk of significant harm to the applicant or any child, attributable to the conduct of the perpetrator, if the order was not made immediately. 

It has been statistically proven that the summer months provide the platform for an increase in the number of domestic abuse cases. The catalyst for this can be anything from one too many drinks down the pub to heightened aggression caused by a bad result for the England Team at the World Cup.

Terry Jones Solicitors & Advocates provide a discrete, confidential and professional service on a one-to-one basis. For further advice and assistance please do not hesitate to contact Sarah O’Neill on 01743 285888 or


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