This week, the first national tour of Broadway's "Tina - The Tina Turner Musical" has made its debut for the first time in California, just a few weeks after the eponymous singer's passing. The Lunt-Fontanne Theatre will also dim its lights in her memory.
Finding a voice when you are a victim of domestic abuse can feel like a daunting, if not impossible, task. However, Tina Turner showed the world how to be a survivor and did not let past abuse define the rest of her life. 24 May 2023 marks the day that the rock and roll legend died. Since then, the news has been filled with articles not only about her musical prowess but also her bravery to speak out about domestic abuse and the inspiration she gave to many campaigners and fellow survivors.
The recent focus on this display of courage may prompt those in abusive relationships to seek help. Nearly all forms of domestic violence constitute a criminal offence and so the police may be the first port of call and the police should always be contacted if a victim is in immediate danger. However, for longer term solutions, an injunction from the Family Court may be a better option for some.
There are two main family law injunctions that are available to victims of domestic abuse: occupation orders and non-molestation orders.
- Occupation orders regulate who can live within a property and can, at their most potent, be used to evict an abuser from the property and permit the victim of abuse (and any children) to continue living there for a period, even if the property is owned solely by the abuser.
- Non-molestation orders can be used to stop an abuser from ‘molesting’ the victim (or any children) in any way, be that directly or indirectly. This can cover things such as physical violence (or threats of the same) and verbal abuse, but can also cover intimidation, harassment and indirect communications (e.g. calls, messages and in some circumstances social media use).
Strict legal tests must be met before the Court is willing to make these kinds of order and they are time limited (often for 6 months to 1 year) in the first instance, although they can be extended if necessary.
These orders can extend to protecting any children of the family who are victims of domestic abuse, which now includes witnessing domestic abuse. If there are also legal proceedings afoot in respect of arrangements for the children, then further steps can be taken in those proceedings to determine the extent to which it is appropriate for the children to have contact with the abuser and, if so, which safeguards needs to be in place for that to happen (for example, the presence of a professional contact supervisor).
In contrast, it is very rare that domestic abuse will have a direct impact on any financial decision made by the Court, although this is a common misconception as it is often thought that perpetrators will be ‘punished’ financially for their actions. A history of abuse may, however, have an indirect impact on outcome – for example if the abuse has been so severe that it impacts the victim’s ability to work in future.
Finding a voice when you are a victim of domestic abuse can feel like a daunting, if not impossible, task.