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Christmas, it’s the most wonderful time of the year - for most.

Sadly, for some it’s the most feared time of the year. Why? Christmas is the time of year where most people have the luxury of spending extended time with their partners and loved ones. If you are a victim of domestic abuse this is not something to look forward to.

Statistics show that incidents of domestic violence increase over the Christmas period. This may be fuelled by excessive alcohol consumption, money worries and tensions as well as unrealistic expectations of how Christmas will or should be.

Sadly, domestic abuse also effects children significantly. Most children are excited at Christmas and the Christmas period is filled with joy and a chance to make happy memories. For children that live in a household where domestic abuse takes place, Christmas is not an exciting time but a time that they fear and are exposed to domestic abuse as the family spend extended periods of time together.

In the U.K, domestic abuse effects 750,000 children per year. It is estimated that 1 in 5 children have witnessed domestic abuse with figures increasing over the Christmas period.

A campaign "Silent Night?.....Every Night" has been launched for Christmas 2017 to support victims of domestic violence at Christmas by raising extra funds, this will also help children effected. The scheme is currently being piloted in South Gloucestershire and shows that steps are being taken to support people at a very difficult time of they year.

There is help and support available for victims of domestic abuse throughout the UK. There are many charities that provide help and advice over the phone or in person to help people stay safe and access the help they need to move forward. At Ramsdens, we work closely with domestic abuse support agencies in West Yorkshire and we have extensive experience in assisting victims sensitively and professionally.

There are also options from a family law perspective that victims can consider. We understand that it takes a lot of courage to seek the help and protection that a person suffering from domestic abuse requires. As well as reporting matters to the Police, victims can also seek protection from the Family Courts by way of a Non-Molestation Order. It is not necessary for matters to have been reported to the Police previously for this Order to be obtained. Understandably, many incidents go unreported as people fear the consequences from the perpetrator if they were to report matters to the Police.

A Non-Molestation Order can be obtained without the perpetrator of the abuse knowing about the Application in the first instance. When they are aware of the proceedings the protection will already be in place. The Non-Molestation Order protects the victim of domestic abuse as it prohibits the perpetrator from communicating with them, coming within a certain distance of their property and using or threatening any violence towards them. If the Non-Molestation Order is breached then, the perpetrator would be arrested. It is a criminal offence to breach a Non-Molestation Order.

We can also assess you for Legal Aid and ascertain whether you would be financially eligible. If you are not, we can discuss various funding options.

If you or someone that you know would like to speak to a member of our team confidentially then please call us to book a free 30 minute appointment at any of our 12 offices today. Call us free on 08000 147720.

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