Get protection from domestic abuse

You don’t have to put up with domestic abuse.

You have legal options to protect yourself. You can:

  • report abuse to the police
  • get protection from the family courts with a court order (injunction)

You can do both.

Specialist support and legal advice is available to help you make the right decisions.

In an emergency, call the police on 999.

Report abuse to the police

Domestic abuse almost always involves criminal behaviour. If you report domestic abuse to the police, they may:

  • arrest the abuser
  • charge the abuser with a crime
  • impose bail conditions on the abuser which help protect you while they investigate
  • seek a criminal prosecution against them
  • issue a domestic violence protection notice (DPVN) for your safety

The police may decide to charge and prosecute the abuser. A prosecution could lead to:

  • a trial
  • a criminal conviction and prison sentence for the abuser
  • a restraining order (even if the abuser isn’t convicted) that will stop the abuser contacting or going near you
  • compensation for you if you’ve been injured in the crime

Get a court order

You can ask the family courts to make an order (called an injunction) that aims to stop abusive behaviour quickly:

  • a non-molestation order discourages an abuser from going near you (and your children) or being violent or intimidating towards you
  • an occupation order forces an abuser to leave your home or surrounding area

You can get both orders if you need to. Orders can also protect your children.

If your abuser breaks an order, they could be arrested, fined or jailed.

I'm not ready

For information on what you can do to keep yourself and your family safer while you get advice and decide your next steps, see Leaving an abusive relationship.

If you’re not in immediate danger and don’t want to involve the courts yet, you could consider sending the person a warning letter.

In a warning letter, you can tell someone to stop doing something and warn them that if they continue you’ll take legal action. You can use the letter and any response as evidence that you tried everything to fix things before taking the matter to the courts.

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