Domestic Violence

Domestic violence can happen to anyone. The Government defines domestic violence as:

"Any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality."

Issues such as 'Honour Based Violence', Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Forced Marriage fall into the category of domestic violence.

Honour Based Violence

Honour based violence is a form of domestic abuse which is carried out in the name of "honour". It relates to an honour code enforcing women’s conduct within a certain community e.g. Asian, African, Eastern European, travelling communities.

Female Genital Mutilation ('FGM')

The World Health Organisation defines FGM as all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs whether for cultural or other non-therapeutic reasons. It is conducted on girls aged usually between 4 to 14 years. Older women with no medical training in surgical practices usually carry out FGM. Anaesthetics and antiseptics are not generally used. FGM is illegal. The UK Government has acknowledged that more needs to be done to raise awareness of this cruel practice and the issues surrounding it.

Forced Marriage

Forced Marriage may involve physical violence, rape, abduction, false imprisonment, enslavement, emotional abuse, and murder and is a form of domestic abuse.
Domestic abuse is wide reaching across society. It occurs regardless of age, gender, race, sexuality, wealth, and geography.

How can we help?

We have considerable experience in advising victims of domestic abuse in seeking compensation claims. If your abuser has caused you injury and has assets, you may be able to pursue them in the civil courts. Alternatively, we are expert at pursuing compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.

Who would pay legal fees?

We have been awarded a contract by the Legal Services Commission to offer advice in this specialist area. We can offer funding under the ‘Legal help’ scheme, or if a civil compensation claim is appropriate, apply for ‘legal aid’ for you.

If we assist you in an application to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority we would represent you under a contingency fee agreement.

Criminal injuries compensation authority applications

We can help you complete your application to the CICA. We also regularly keep in touch with the CICA to see how a claim is progressing and can help you apply for an interim award (a payment in advance of the final award) in appropriate cases. If we do not think CICA has offered you enough compensation we will not hesitate to recommend your case is reviewed by CICA, and ultimately appealed to the tribunal.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) is a body set up by the government to compensate victims of any crime of violence including domestic violence. It makes financial awards to those who have suffered physical and psychological injury caused by a criminal offence committed against them.

In some instances, CICA will also take into account past and future lost earnings or financial losses suffered, and compensate the victim accordingly. Victims of domestic abuse may also be entitled to pursue a claim.

There are some special considerations about CICA claims:

  • the general rule is that you must apply to CICA within 2 years of the incident occurring.
  • it is necessary to demonstrate that you have reported the incident to the police and cooperated with all police investigations
  • it is not necessary that criminal proceedings against your assailant are instigated or that your assailant is convicted, so long as their conduct can be shown on a balance of probabilities, to have occurred
  • if you have criminal convictions it is likely that any award made to you will be reduced
  • the sum you are awarded is based on a tariff systems and depends on the type of type of injury that you have sustained and the effect of it on your physical and mental health
  • the maximum award for an injury that you can expect to receive from CICA is £500,000
  • if you are awarded compensation from CICA, and subsequently succeed in a civil claim, you will have to reimburse CICA for any monies received from CICA

What do I do next?

If you think you may be entitled to pursue a criminal injuries compensation claim and would like some further advice please contact us or complete the online enquiry form , and we will be happy to discuss the matter with you on an informal (no charge) basis.

It is important to note there are immediate remedies to address domestic violence:

  • Injunctions
  • A non-molestation order or an occupation order against the person who is being violent to you.

We are unable to represent you in such ‘emergency’ remedies but will be pleased to signpost you where possible to a family law firm in your area who will be able to assist.

For information on domestic violence please see www.womensaid.org.uk.