Victims of domestic violence are not helpless. There are lots of resources available to victims that can change their worlds for the better.
For victims who are attempting to seek legal aid, it may seem difficult. You may not know where to start or who you can trust. But there are some steps to take that can make things go more smoothly.
Secure an Attorney
Choosing to get away from an abuser is a scary step to take, especially if you’ve been isolated or have children with you. That is why you will need an attorney whose expertise extends across all areas of family law. You’ll want a trusted adviser to help you create a plan of action and help you navigate the legal system. Finding Legal Options for Women Survivors (FLOWS) is an organization that gives support and legal assistance to domestic abuse victims.
Apply for a Court Order
It’s important to legally establish yourself as a victim of domestic abuse. One of the best ways to do this is to apply for a protection order. Filing a Domestic Violence Protection Notice or Order (DVPN/DVPO) is a non-molestation eviction notice. It’s served by the police to the accused abuser on behalf of the abuse victim. This court order bans the perpetrator from the home and from making contact with the victim or victims. The order goes into effect once the police serve the notice.
There are other ways to prove that you are a domestic violence victim. A helthcare professional can write a letter stating that they have examined the victim and in their professional jusgement, their examination showed evidence consistent with that of someone being abused. Likewise, you can get a letter from a domestic violence support organisation. It must detail the organisation’s credentials and location, that they are helping the abused individual or person at risk, why they are helping and how they are helping, and a statement confirming that the victim is actually a victim or at risk in thier professional opinion. If the abuser has already been convicted of a domestic violence offence or currently out on bail for a domestic violence charge are also evidence that can be submitted.
It’s scary to set out on the path of cutting ties with an abuser, but there is a bright light on the other side. Once you’ve gathered sufficient evidence and have presented this to an attorney, you can truly break free. There are a lot of small steps you can take including requesting an ANI (action needed immediately) codeword that can be used at participating pharmacies and job centres. Asking for an ANI will get you to a private area where you can make a phone call. You’ll be asked if you’d like the police to be called or help finding a support organisation.
There are a lot of support systems in place to help those experiencing domestic violence. Although it’s a big step to make, it’s often a very accessible step to take. Your life and your qulaity of life is important and finding legal aid is within your reach.