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There was a lot of news we found interesting in December & January, so we've put a few of the news posts on our Facebook and Twitter pages together and a reminder of our blogs.

From our blog:

“What happens next”: Rita Gupta interviewed about domestic abuse on London Live TV

 

Tying in with the UN campaign "16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence", LGFL Managing Director Rita Gupta discusses legal ways forward to help those suffering abuse on London Live TV.

 

 

Domestic abuse and Christmas: help is always there

 

If you or anyone you know are experiencing domestic violence whether self-isolating or working from home, download our new leaflet detailing organisations who can help.

 

 

 

Post-Christmas relationship breakdowns and the myth of Divorce Day

 

National Divorce Day is a myth, but the effect of Christmas holiday tensions on already fracturing relationships is very real. Our holistic, tailored approach ensures our approach is as unique as our client's circumstances.

 

 

“Love and respect”: celebrity divorces of 2023

 

Our celebrity divorces roundup for 2023 including Hollywood A list actors, Prime Ministers and two princesses of pop.

 

 

And from our social media streams:

"It doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom:” Divorce coach reveals the secrets to a good breakup

Divorce rates spike in January, as couples across the UK agree to call it quits after Christmas

 

Pensions and divorce - how to split your retirement savings

A divorce can be a costly affair - and while you may be thinking about who gets the house and how to share time with the kids, pensions is also an important discussion point - but one that often gets overlooked.

 

Divorce Day: Cost-of-living crisis shift couples' separations into Spring

Divorce day moves this year perhaps?

 

Do You Have to Divorce Extended Family, Too?

Suggestions on how to navigate maintaining familial ties when you split.

 

No fault divorce applications done 12% on year ago

Interesting stats!

 

Nationwide will offer safe spaces for people experiencing domestic abuse

People will be able to use a private room and can access a phone to discreetly call for support, Nationwide Building Society said.

 

Rich parents insist on prenups

Pre-nups or Bank of Mum and Dad with strings attached? Article in the Times.

 

Emily Ratajkowski wants to pen a book on divorce

"I can't believe there aren't more books about first marriages failing. A lot of literature about divorce tends to be about families ending after children have grown up. I think so many are divorcing at younger ages, a it's such a taboo with such stigma”.

 

British woman still married to ‘prominent’ Indonesian businessman – judge rules

Round one to the estranged wife of wealthy Indonesian businessman in divorce fight.

 

Filing for divorce? Here’s why you need a good solicitor

Not just our word for it. London Loves Business suggests it too.

 

Wife sues ex-husband for age discrimination after he left her for a younger woman

Age discrimination on divorce?

“Discrimination claims were dismissed after the tribunal ruled that it was actually her who left the marriage and that Mr Belson’s new girlfriend is in fact older than her.”

 

99-year-old man divorced wife of 70 years after finding secret love letters from affair she had 60 years ago

Divorcing after 70 years of marriage- yes 70!

 

Magistrate given formal warning after researching defendant online

More training for magistrates required?

 

The day we told our children we were getting a divorce

"There was no huge moment. No Big Bang. It was 3pm on an average Tuesday afternoon when my husband Matt and I decided to go our separate ways".

 

Judges encouraged to embrace AI — carefully

For summarising or administrative tasks, the guidance states that judges may find AI tools useful. Sir Geoffrey Vos, Master of the Rolls and the country’s second most senior judge, added that AI provides “great opportunities for the justice system”, and the potential to help develop “a better, quicker and more cost-effective digital justice”.

 

‘TikTok changed my husband - so I’m divorcing him’

The trend of “tradwife” - or "traditional wife" - videos on Tik-Tok.

 

How to deal with missing your children when you’re away from them

Something many divorced parents find hard to deal with.

 

Coping with divorce and borderline personality disorder

One of the most daunting challenges for couples—whether married or going through a divorce—is navigating the complexities of mental health disorders. The stress of marriage and child-rearing, even for the emotionally stable, becomes astronomically harder when coupled with mental health issues.

Christmas is not always a time of peace and goodwill. The holiday period will inevitably create additional strains on family life through kids being off school for two weeks, illness (COVID is still out there), financial stresses due to the cost of living, or simply being together in the home much more than usual.

At LGFL, we are acutely aware that for for those affected by domestic abuse and/or coercive control, the home may not be the safest place to be.

The time to act is NOW

Remember, the UK emergency services are here to help everyone, anytime. If you are experiencing domestic violence or abuse, the time to act is NOW.

  • Call 999 and if possible, get yourself and your children to a place of safety. The police WILL respond.
  • Women, call the National Domestic Abuse Helpline 0808 200 0247 (24 hours)
  • Men, call the ManKind confidential helpline on 01823 334244

Once you’re safe, contact us for professional legal advice on how to proceed.

There are also local and national organisations who can help anyone suffering from domestic and/or emotional abuse to change their situation. We’ve listed their details below, or you can also download the list as a PDF.

National Helplines

24 hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline

0808 2000 247

https://www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk

 

Respect (perpetrators)

0808 802 4040

https://respectphoneline.org.uk

 

Karma Nirvana

(National Honour Based Abuse Helpline)

0800 599 9247

https://karmanirvana.org.uk

 

Victim Support Domestic Abuse

08 08 16 89 111

https://www.victimsupport.org.uk/crime-info/types-crime/domestic-abuse/

 

County Services

Berkshire - Women's Aid

01189 504 003

https://www.berkshirewomensaid.org.uk

 

Hampshire - Stop Domestic Abuse

0330 053 3630 - option 3

https://stopdomesticabuse.uk/

 

Hampshire - Domestic Abuse Prevention Partnership

03300 165 112

https://www.hants.gov.uk/socialcareandhealth/domesticabuse

 

Surrey - The Sanctuary

01483 776822

https://www.yoursanctuary.org.uk/

 

Female Support

Women’s Refuge

A safe place for women in need

0808 2000 247

https://refuge.org.uk/

 

Women’s Aid (Live chat)

https://chat.womensaid.org.uk

Live chat

 

Male Support

Mankind - Helping Men Escape

01823 334 244

https://mankind.org.uk

 

Respect Men’s Advice Line

0808 801 0327

https://mensadviceline.org.uk

 

AMIS Scotland

03300 949 395

https://abusedmeninscotland.org

 

LGBTQ+ Support

Galop National Helpline for LGBT+ Victims and Survivors of Abuse and Violence

0800 999 5428

https://galop.org.uk/

 

Child Services

NSPCC - Child Protection Helpline

0808 800 5000

https://www.nspcc.org.uk/what-is-child-abuse/types-of-abuse/domestic-abuse/

 

Childline

0800 1111

https://www.childline.org.uk

 

Helpful Websites

Resolution

Cafcass

Leiper Gupta Family Lawyers

NSPCC

 

Need legal advice?

Contact us at LGFL in complete confidence.

man with back to camera

As part of LGFL’s holistic approach to divorce, Director Rita Gupta attended the ManKind conference at the end of 2019. In this second article, Rita highlights the effect of witnessing domestic violence for children, the financial impact of court action to enforce child arrangements, and other important issues. She also details the signs of coercive control over men, to help family and friends spot the signs.

Domestic abuse and children

Domestic violence does not happen in a vacuum. It impacts on the whole family. Domestic abuse impacts on the children regardless of their gender.

  • A child witnessing their parent’s suffering is sufficient to trigger PTSD over many years.
  • Intimate parent violence is an adverse childhood experience (ACE).
  • There is no difference if a child sees mum or dad being hit or being the abuser.
  • Children of either gender are more likely to become involved in violent and abusive behaviour when they are older. (1)

If you are experiencing domestic violence, the time to act is now. Call 999 and if possible, get yourself and your children to a place of safety. Call the ManKind confidential helpline on 01823 334244. Then, once you’re safe, contact us for professional legal advice on how to proceed.


 

Should I stay or should I go?

As we’ve discussed in our own article (Men are victims too: the ManKind domestic violence conference), it is better for the parents to live apart, than for their children to continually witness violence or dominating and abusive behaviour. However, this raises the possibility for parental alienation, where one parent (often the resident parent) continually undermines and seeks to separate children from the other parent. There is increasing pressure from various groups to have alienation included in the Domestic Abuse Bill as a recognised form of abuse.

As an experienced family lawyer, I’d add another element - financial abuse. The constant need to enforce child arrangements through the court is costly and time-consuming. Court appearances inevitably affect a parent’s ability to work and earn an income, due to the need to take precious days off for court appearances.


If you want to discuss your legal position regarding any aspect of domestic violence or abuse, call us. We offer a free 30-minute consultation in discreet offices where nobody will know you’ve come to talk to us. Call us in complete confidence on 01189 735521.


 

Nowhere to go

One of the major issues around domestic violence against men is the lack of safe accommodation and support. Across the UK, there are only 2160 refuge spaces for domestic violence victims, of which just 36 are assigned to men. This needs to change if male domestic violence victims are to get the support, advice or protection they need.

 

ManKind and the military

We applaud that ManKind are working with the armed services to raise awareness of abuse. 87% of our armed services personnel are men, so statistically, there will be thousands experiencing abuse. However, issues around masculinity add additional barriers to disclosure and reporting, especially when living in service accommodation tied to the job.

As family lawyers in Reading, we are within just a few miles’ drive of major military bases and accommodation. If you are in the military and need advice and help, call for an appointment now at our discreet countryside offices.

 

Coercive control of men – spot the signs

Coercive control is as much of an issue as physical abuse. There have been few studies on the differences between men and women doing the controlling, but female coercive control often includes:

  • Constant criticism
  • Denigrating behaviour and language
  • Jealousy
  • High degree if manipulation
  • Manipulated contraception
  • Legal and administrative aggression

Coercive control over men may emerge as:

  • Restrictions on his personal freedom
  • Telephone and message monitoring
  • Manipulation of social network
  • Alienation from his friends and family
  • Verbal abuse
  • Sexual taunts and insults
  • Jealousy and possessiveness
  • False allegations against men in powerful and high profile jobs
  • Threats to damage their reputation outside of work
  • Gaslighting and isolation
  • Suggesting older men 60+ have dementia
  • Financial abuse
  • Stalking

Coercive control and abuse can present as endless custody disputes, delay in proceedings, parental alienation, and result in financial abuse by litigation pressure. If you feel this applies to you, call us. We offer a free 30-minute consultation in our private office in central Reading or our discreet countryside location in Swallowfield. Call us in complete confidence.

 

Fear of losing everything

Many male victims of domestic violence don't speak out because of their fear of losing everything: access to their kids, their home and their relationship. As experienced family lawyers, we have helped men separate from abusive and non-abusive wives and same-sex partners and protected their interests in terms of children, home and finances.

 

How LGFL can help you

At LGFL, we have over a decade of experience and success in cases involving domestic violence, abuse and coercive control. Our approach is simple - we listen with empathy, give pragmatic advice and help you take the best action to exit an abusive relationship without losing what’s most precious to you.

No man should have to suffer domestic abuse in silence. Take the first step and call us on 01189 735521 for a review of your situation during a free 30-minute consultation for qualifying clients. Or fill in our request form here and we will make discreet contact to arrange a meeting.

Look out too for our future articles on:

  • Parental alienation
  • Adverse childhood experiences (ACE)

and their impact in a family law context.
 
 
 

note:
(1) Findings from Professor Nicola Graham-Kevan

As part of LGFL’s holistic approach to divorce, Director Rita Gupta attended the ManKind conference last November. The ManKind Initiative helps men escape domestic violence and their confidential helpline is available for male victims of domestic abuse and domestic violence across the UK. In this first article in a new series, Rita highlights some of the key findings she discovered at the conference.

Domestic violence does not discriminate. Victims come from all walks of life and professions, across all age groups, and from all parts of the UK. Yet public awareness is low and the subject can even be a source of amusement, as ManKind showed in a powerful video.

How would you react?

ManKind secretly videoed the reactions of members of the public witnessing an incident of domestic violence. The man and woman involved were both actors, but the public were unwitting bystanders the unfolding drama.

  • In the incident where the man was abusing the woman, male and female bystanders came to intervene to help the woman.
  • When the man was abused, the bystanders found it amusing and no help was given.

(If you want to view the video, click the link here. Please be aware this video contains offensive language and images of simulated violence.)

How prevalent is domestic abuse against men?

The reactions in that video show that public awareness of domestic violence is low, and understanding limited, despite the facts that:

  • There is an equal split 50/50 between the gender of the primary aggressor
  • 1 in 3 victims of domestic violence are men who self-report the incident
  • In 2017/18, 6000 women were convicted of abuse

 

If you are experiencing domestic violence, the time to act is now. Call 999 and if possible, get yourself and your children to a place of safety. Call the ManKind confidential helpline on 01823 334244. Then, once you’re safe, contact us for professional legal advice on how to proceed.

Equality for all victims

ManKind wants funding to be equal for both male and female victims, for them to be treated as equals regardless of their gender, or that of their attacker.

It’s an approach that as family lawyers, we heartily endorse. We have seen first-hand the devastating effects of domestic violence, abuse and coercive control on the victim, their children, their family, and their careers. The stigma behind domestic violence against men can mean they do not get the support, advice or protection they need. (It may also prove to be very costly for the victim, as we’ll explore in our next article in this series.)

The true scale of the issue

In his presentation, psychologist Dr Ben Hine detailed how reporting on domestic violence against men in the UK is held back by the men themselves being unwilling to officially report incidents to the police. As a result, the statistics that do exist are probably far lower than the reality.

Dr Hine and his team looked at data from the reports, and discovered that:

  • Male DV victims were generally older
  • 86% are white/ British
  • 22% are self referring

In addition, male victims are more likely to:

  • Have a vulnerability used against them, such as disability or deafness
  • Be in work and earning
  • Still live with their abusive partner rather than be separated
  • Remain in an abusive relationship, especially if they have children
  • Develop drugs and alcohol issues

 

Family law services for all

At LGFL, we have dealt with multiple cases of separation and divorces involving domestic violence, abuse and coercive control. Our approach is to same regardless of age and gender, married or cohabiting. We listen with empathy and give pragmatic advice to help you remove (extract?) yourself from that abusive relationship and situation.

We encourage any man suffering in an abusive relationship to take the first step and call us for a review of your situation. We offer a free 30-minute consultation for qualifying clients in our discreet offices either in Reading or Swallowfield. We have purposely based ourselves in high-end business centres, so nobody knows which company you are visiting when you arrive. Our countryside premises in Swallowfield even has a hidden back entrance should you require it.

domestic abuse woman crying

Is domestic abuse on the increase? According to the Office for National Statistics, the figures from the Crime Survey for England and Wales show

“Little change in the prevalence of domestic abuse in recent years.”

However, the ONS is the first to admit that:

“The majority of cases do not come to the attention of the police, and many of those that do, do not result in a conviction for the perpetrator of the abuse.” 

This situation needs to change, and as LGFL Director Rita Gupta explains, progress is finally being made through the draft Domestic Abuse Bill.

 

Domestic violence: the stats

It’s shocking to learn that in the year ending March 2018, an estimated 2 million adults experienced some form of domestic abuse. The police recorded almost 600,000 domestic abuse related crimes during the same period, a rise of 23% from 2017 thanks to more victims coming forward. Equally, during those 12 months, over 75% of prosecutions ended in a conviction.

It’s not just women of course: out of those 2 million adults, 695,000 were men. Not to mention the possible 1 million or more children caught in the crossfire of domestic abuse, and suffering abuse themselves.

What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse covers both physical and mental abuse, defined by the government as:

“Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. It can encompass, but is not limited to, the following types of abuse:
• psychological
• physical
• sexual
• financial
• emotional”

There are an estimated 600,000 transgender and non-binary people in the UK, accounting for just under 1% of the population. Of these, around 3,500 undergo treatment each year, according to The Royal College of Physicians.

 

What are the signs of emotional abuse?

As the government website so succinctly puts it:

“There are different kinds of abuse, but it’s always about having power and control over you.”

If you feel this applies to you:

  • Talk to someone you trust as soon as possible.
  • Find the strength to report assaults to the police. Most types of abuse are a criminal offence.
  • Get checked over by a doctor or a GP if you have any physical injuries.
  • If you are in physical danger, call 999 and remove yourself and your children to a place of safety. Many police stations have a Domestic Violence Unit or Community Safety Unit with specially trained officers to help you. There is a list of organisations who can help you here and excellent advice on how to stay safe from the CAB.
  • Ask the police for a Domestic Violence Protection Order to give you time to explore your options, by banning an abusive spouse from your home for 28 days.

 

Talk to us

Once you’re immediate safety needs are met, you can come and talk to us about the legal implications of your situation, and to explore ways to formalise your long-term exit from the relationship.

We offer clear advice on all aspects including how to:

  • Obtain a non-molestation order
  • Apply for an occupation order
  • Establish your legal rights to your family home
  • Resolve who the children will live with
  • Divorce an abusive spouse

Call us in complete confidence, or fill in our enquiry form, stating the best time and means by which we can talk to you.

 

Types of domestic and emotional abuse

The draft Domestic Abuse bill includes the first statutory definition of domestic abuse as:

  • Emotional abuse, involving controlling or coercive behaviours where your partner might isolate you from friends, criticise what you wear or do, or accuse you of having affairs.
  • Financial control and emotional abuse where they control your finances, don’t let you work or earn your own money, or don’t give you sufficient money for essentials and food.
  • Threatening and intimidating behaviour, where your partner might say they’ll hurt, you, break items belonging to you, follow you outside the home, or make threats to kill themselves or your children.
  • Physical abuse, including hitting, punching, slapping, holding down, choking and throwing items.
  • Sexual abuse, including unwanted sexual demands, hurting you, or applying pressure to have sex. (Remember, if your partner has sex with you when you either say or indicate you don’t want to, this is an act of rape.)
  • Cultural abuse, including forced marriages, female genital mutilation, and honour-based abuse.

 

Giving evidence in court; the new Domestic Abuse Bill

I firmly believe that one of the major barriers for domestic abuse victims coming forward is the current right for their abuser to cross-examine them in court. Having escaped once from an abusive relationship, it takes enormous courage to face your abuser again, let alone have them try to discredit everything you say through cross examination.

That’s why LGFL is a strong supporter of the draft Domestic Abuse Bill that would remove this right. The Bill, when passed will, according to the Law Gazette:

  • End cross-examination of domestic violence victims by their alleged abuser.
  • Introduce the first statutory definition of domestic abuse.
  • Specifically include economic abuse which is an extremely important factor often overlooked.
  • Also include controlling and manipulative non-physical abuse.

 

Giving evidence in court: other changes

This bill comes close on the heels of other much-welcomed changes to evidence requirements in private family law disputes including:

  • No time limit on abuse evidence (formally 5 years).
  • A wider remit for evidence to include statement from support organisations and housing officers.
  • Easier access to legal aid (although still subject to means and merits tests).

 

Domestic abuse and child access for those accused of abuse

When a case goes before the Family Court for child access rights, the court is primarily concerned with the welfare of the children involved. If an accusation of domestic abuse is made, the judge must be satisfied that what someone has said happened did actually happen.

 

Preventing domestic violence

There are many factors that contribute to domestic abuse, some of which start with people unwittingly choosing a partner with a violent past. The domestic violence disclosure scheme allows you to check with the police if a prospective partner has a recorded history of violence that places you at potential risk.

This ‘right to ask’ also extends to friends and family who can ask on your behalf. The police can release the information if it is considered:

“Lawful, necessary and proportional to do so.”

 

Domestic abuse: we’re here to help

As an experienced family lawyer here at LGFL, I’ve seen my fair share of cases involving every type of emotional abuse, physical violence and coercive control. I know it can happen to anyone; male, female, young, old, regardless of gender, race, sexuality or social background. Nothing shocks me (sadly), I am genuinely here to help, and I take the utmost care to ensure your confidentiality. As my client, I place you and your children at the heart of everything we here at LGFL will do, using every legal method and safeguard to help you move forward with your life.

Call me to discuss your situation. I offer a free 30-minute consultation where you can meet me in our discreet countryside offices, or at my new private office in central Reading.

If you missed what we’ve been sharing this month, here’s a round up of our blogs and some of the news posts on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Read More

The shocking story of solicitor Dave Edwards, who was stabbed in the chest by Sharon Edwards, his wife of two months, is certainly not an isolated case. According to statistics from the Crime Survey for England and Wales, in the twelve months to March 2015, around 600,000 men were victims of domestic abuse. Overall, one in six men will suffer some form of domestic or emotional abuse during their lifetime.

(more…)

Long-running radio soap ‘The Archers’ has stirred up emotions with a gritty ongoing storyline of domestic abuse. The unfolding of Rob Titchener’s emotional manipulation of his pregnant wife Helen has gripped the programme’s loyal followers including LGFL Ltd partner Anne Leiper, who is a life-long Archers fan.
It’s the all-too-hidden side of a relationship, the seemingly charming partner who is abusive, controlling and violent behind closed doors. It’s also difficult to talk about or unearth, as the victims often seek to excuse or cover up their abuse through fear or embarrassment.

(more…)