Domestic violence victims can get court orders to keep abusers out of certain rooms, charity says
Perpetrators of domestic violence can be given court orders to stop them entering certain parts of their house, victims have been told.
With the UK in lockdown, many domestic abuse charities have expressed concerns about how this may impact on people for whom home is not a safe space.
Leeds Womens Aid said they were "particularly worried about the safety of people who may be being forced to isolate with their abuser", while a professor of crime science told The Yorkshire Post that increased alcohol sales could aggravate perpetrators' behaviour.
The National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV) has now advised victims they can request injunctions to create legally-protected 'safe zones' inside their own homes.
Non-molestation orders (NMOs) are court orders to protect people who may not be safe at home by demarcating areas in the area as out-of-bounds zones for abusers.
Breaching the order is punishable by up to five years in prison.
NCDV chief executive Mark Groves said: “We are witnessing the acute distress of victims unable to leave the same flat or house where they’re suffering from abuse.
“Previously, they or their partner might have moved out or have been ordered to leave by a Court. Now that option is often closed. Couples are being forced to stay together due to lack of money, limited spaces in refuges and public restrictions on movement.”
Mr Groves added: “The only sensible option for some victims will be to set up an official safe zone within their own home via a Non Molestation Order where it would become a criminal offence for their partner to enter. We have helped victims to do this in the past.”
“Recently the Courts listened to our pleas to grant Court Orders such as NMOs on line and have them served electronically on abusers. Those reforms are really important for victims’ ability to get an Order and set up a Court-protected safe zone as quickly as possible.”