The law

Is it against the law?
 
Being violent to another person is against the law. Although there’s no specific offence called domestic violence much of the abusive behaviour used, such as: assault, false imprisonment, criminal damage, harassment, attempted murder and rape are criminal offences. The police have a duty to investigate the crimes and protect victims.
 
What’s a protection order?
 
It’s when the victim of abuse applies to the courts to get protection from the abuser (perpetrator). Sometimes this means getting an injunction order – a legal document saying that the abuser has to stay away from the family home.
 
What’s a contact order?
 
It’s when families go to court to arrange how much and when the non-resident adult gets contact with the child or young person. A judge will decide whether contact is safe for the child or young person and then what type of contact to give. The contact order says when, where ,and for how long the other parent can see you.
 
There can be indirect contact, such as phone calls and letters, or direct contact – face-to-face time. Sometimes the judge will order ‘staying’ contact which means that the children will stay overnight at certain times with their other parent.
 
What’s a residence order?
 
When parents separate the children or young people usually live with one of the parents. When there is domestic violence between parents, the children usually end up living with the abused parent. If the parents cannot reach agreement about this, they can ask the court to make an order stating which parent the children/young people are to live with. This is called a residence order.
 
What is a CAFCASS officer?
 
In order to decide what is the best contact arrangement for a family, the court may ask for a person from CAFCASS (the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) to speak with the child about what happened and about how they feel about seeing theirr other parent. The people who work for CAFCASS are often called either Children and Family Reporters or Children’s Guardians.