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We can help with all the legal issues created by domestic violence and abuse. You may also want to take action on and get help with other practical, social and emotional aspects.

There are lots of excellent local groups and national organisations that offer specialist help, advice and support.

In Coventry your first port of call could be Coventry Domestic Violence and Abuse Partnership, telephone 0800 035 5309.

Using family law, we can help you:

  • Get a court order to protect you and your children. In some cases, this can happen on the same day or next morning. A court order can prevent an abuser from contacting you, coming near or entering your home. Anyone breaching this sort of court order could be arrested and imprisoned. We will help you in court, every step of the way.
  • Advise you on divorce or separation (including arrangements for any finances and assets).
  • Decide how best to keep your children safe from domestic violence and abuse. We can advise you on applications to stop the father of your children taking them from your care if you feel they are at risk from him.
  • Advise you on applications to sort out housing and living arrangements and contact between your children and their father.
  • Get help from Social Services or other agencies and understand your rights once they become involved.

Somewhere safe to live

Using housing law, we can help you:

  • Apply for an order to force the person harming, abusing or threatening out of the home, rather than you or your children having to leave.
  • Move somewhere safe and secure in an emergency, or at any time you decide to leave (including an appropriate place for any children or other members of your family and household).
  • Assess how suitable emergency accommodation is for you and your children.
  • Safeguard your possessions and personal items if you have to move in an emergency
  • With advice if you become homeless because of domestic violence or abuse.
  • Decide on and explore longer term housing options (including getting proper priority in the Council’s housing register. Exploring Housing Benefit to pay your housing costs.

Housing options and decisions often overlap with Community Care issues and needs.

Handling your finances

To cope with money problems, we can help you:

  • Get back your personal belongings and possessions if you have to leave your home in an emergency because of domestic violence or abuse.
  • Avoid being liable for any debts that belong to the person abusing you.
  • Identify and prioritise debts, by looking at the options (for example, negotiating affordable repayments, declaring yourself bankrupt or applying for a court Debt Relief Order to manage your debts).
  • Maximise your income (for example, any benefits you could claim independently of an abusive or violent family member)
  • Identify the options for dealing with debts (for example, by negotiating affordable repayments or applying for bankruptcy.

For welfare benefits, we can:

  • Advise you on your rights to claim benefits independently of the person abusing you.
  • Help you appeal if you are refused benefits and advise and represent you at appeal hearings (for example, about Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payment or overpayments of Tax Credits
  • Help you challenge Department of Work and Pensions sanctions (for example, if you’re deemed not to have complied with job search directions).
  • Tap into support from other advice agencies with making claims and resolving benefits issues.

If you need extra support

Using the law on community care we can:

  • Advise and help you get support from Social Services if you’re experiencing domestic violence or abuse and have children in need.
  • Advise and help you get financial support and accommodation if you have no recourse to public funds or cannot get homelessness assistance.
  • Help you arrange a temporary or permanent home that takes account of any disabilities or other extra needs.

Staying and living in the UK

Domestic violence and abuse can be even more worrying if you’re unsure of your right to live or remain in this country.

Using immigration law, we can:

  • Confirm your current immigration status (and that of any children) and advise on how your status may be affected if you leave an abusive relationship, separate or divorce.
  • Advise on how you can become independent of your abuser’s status if your immigration status is attached to him/her (for example, because of visa or permit rules)
  • Advise on how you and any children may be allowed to remain independently in the UK.
  • Explain the entitlements and conditions attached to your current status and any new leave to remain granted.
  • Help you make an asylum claim if you fear returning to your home country.
  • Advise and represent you if you believe you have been a victim of human trafficking.