Domestic Abuse and Honesty in Family Law Proceedings

Family proceedings will be one of the most stressful and daunting times in a parent’s life, as you are dealing with the unknown.

You will be asked to put your trust in professionals who you may have never met before or you don’t know very well.

As well as dealing with social services, solicitors, guardians and a judge, you may have to also engage with other agencies if there are issues involved such as drugs, alcohol and domestic abuse.

You’ll meet professionals who will want to know everything about you in a short space of time, so it’s understandable that you would be overwhelmed, hesitant to trust and unlikely to open up to them.

If you are a victim of domestic abuse, often one of the hardest things is to confide in a stranger or a professional and share your experiences, especially when your parenting may be questioned. It’s an incredibly private issue.

You may think the best and easiest way to deal with social services is to deny everything, that way they won’t have any information with which to make things potentially even worse for you.

Also, as a victim of domestic abuse, you may not even realise you are in an abusive relationship, or you may think that if you confide in a professional and share your experiences that the abuse will become worse.

Parents often believe that as a victim of domestic abuse, they are putting themselves in a worse position at court to care for their children and that no judge would keep a child with a parent who is the victim of domestic abuse.

I tell all of my clients: if you are open and honest from the outset, then we can all work together to assist you in the best way possible. Ultimately, it is our job to help reach the very best solution for you and your family.

There are so many resources available to victims of domestic abuse, from obtaining a non-molestation order to prevent the perpetrator contacting or coming into contact with you, to special measures being available at court so you do not have to be see the perpetrator at any point.

There are a number of agencies available who can support you to leave the relationship, find a new property or even relocate completely, helping to ensure you feel safe.

The first step is telling someone.

There are also programmes in place which can give you more insight into perpetrators, so that moving forward you can recognise a perpetrator and make different decisions, helping you take back control and gain confidence within yourself.

Children may suffer physically, psychologically or emotionally as a result of living with domestic abuse. Trust is incredibly important. You need to trust that you will be listened to and that you will be given support from professionals to leave the abusive relationship and become independent.

Working openly and honestly with social services, court and other professionals goes a long way.

If you are a victim and you need help, we are here to help and guide you every step of the way, providing you with support and advice along the way to help you get your life back.