All partners in an intimate relationship, whether living together or not, can apply to Court for a Protection or Safety Order under the provisions of the Domestic Violence Act 2018. However, to obtain a Barring Order however you must be cohabitating [ i.e. living] with your partner/spouse. If a Domestic Violence order is granted it makes it a criminal offence for a person to behave in a manner which puts an applicant in fear and can include communications by email/text or through social media.
The Act has widened the issues which must be taken into consideration by the Judge when deciding whether or not to grant an order and which include:
History of violence; Previous convictions; Coercive control / Psychological abuse; Financial control; Substance abuse; History of animal cruelty; Access to weapons.
New measures have been brought in to try to assist applicants during the application including:
- The Court can prohibit a self-represented abuser from cross-examining an applicant. Cross-examination may take place but only by a Solicitor/Barrister.
- Victims can bring a person to support them in Court.
- Evidence can be given by video link to avoid intimidation during the Court process.
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