I read about the tragic news of the discovery of the bodies of Sian Blake and her two children recently. There is an ongoing murder investigation and the police are looking for Ms Blake’s partner who is the father of the children.
It would be improper to comment further, but what these events have highlighted is the number of women (and men) who are at risk and who suffer from domestic violence.
The statistics from domestic violence helpline Refuge make for grim reading; two women are killed every week in England and Wales by a current or former partner. One in four women experience domestic violence in their lifetime and on average a woman is assaulted 35 times before her first call to the police. Every minute the police receive a call relating to an incident of domestic violence and yet only 35% of incidents are reported.
The Christmas period can be particularly brutal, with tensions already running high emotions can peak over the festive period. Children’s charity against child abuse, the NSPCC, report that calls to their helpline “rocket” during December, with one incident a day being passed to social services because a child is in danger. Peter Wanless, the Chief Executive of the NSPCC, said that “Christmas can be a bleak and terrifying time” for families.
So, as we reflect on the time we have had over Christmas and New Year, spare a thought for those whose Christmases have been a period of fear, and if you know of someone who is suffering domestic violence, or if you yourself are a victim, please don’t suffer in silence. There are organisations out there able to help – and if legal proceedings are required (such as a non-molestation order or an occupation order), then speak to a solicitor who specialises in obtaining these types of injunctions.
Sarah Thompson is a family lawyer at Slater and Gordon in Manchester.
At Slater and Gordon, we take a holistic approach. Our domestic violence solicitors will guide you sensitively through the legal process, ensuring you have access to the best legal advice. We will also signpost you to the organisations that can offer supportive help, such as counselling. Call us anytime 24/7, on freephone 0800 916 9055 or contact us online and we can call you back at a time that suits you.