Social Distancing not barrier to Protection from Domestic Abuse


The world is currently bowing under the pressure of a virus the like of which has never been seen in any of our lifetime – businesses are locking their doors, the elderly and vulnerable are hiding themselves away and it might feel like the whole world is going into lockdown, with help out of reach for many.

Amidst this, people suffering from domestic abuse might feel like they are more trapped than ever. We are all being asked to maintain social distance and self-isolate, but  for a victim of domestic abuse this can lead them to feel even more vulnerable and alone and the need to escape from a partner or loved one might come to a peak.

Domestic abuse is not limited to physical harm – it can cover a whole range of controlling or coercive behaviours, from financial control to emotional abuse.  Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse, regardless of their relationship to the perpetrator, their gender, age, race or sexual orientation. The elderly might feel particularly vulnerable to controlling behaviours due to the current lockdown, however women, men and children who are self-isolating with family or partners may also be at risk.

If someone is behaving abusively towards you but you are afraid that the current lockdown means you cannot seek help and support, please be assured that the Courts are still hearing emergency applications for Non Molestation Orders if there has been an incident of abusive behaviour within the 7 days prior to an application being made.  These Orders can be granted by the Court without your partner/family member being notified if you are at imminent risk of harm.

A Non-Molestation Order if granted would prohibit your partner/family member from harassing, intimidating or pestering you or threatening you in any way. It is a criminal offence to breach a Non-Molestation Order and the police take breaches very seriously and have dedicated Domestic Abuse Teams to deal with these matters.

A specialist solicitor can provide you with the assistance you need to protect yourself.  Legal Aid is available to anyone seeking a Non-Molestation Order and can be applied for quickly.

For further information, feel free to contact us here.

Belfast and Lisburn Women’s Aid Older Women Project

Many may view Domestic Violence as something that primarily affects younger women or women with children.

The Belfast & Lisburn Women’s Aid Older Women’s Project highlights that just as many older women are affected by domestic violence, have suffered long-term abuse in the home and often face more barriers in their help- seeking process.

We are very grateful to Olga Attwood from Belfast & Lisburn Women’s Aid who works with the Older Women’s Project for providing us with an article to share with our followers, entitled ‘Domestic Violence is Ageless’




Domestic Abuse App launched by Belfast Area Domestic & Sexual Violence Partnership


havenbelfastThe Belfast Area Domestic & Sexual Violence and Abuse Partnership have launched a domestic & sexual violence App, in conjunction with the PCSPS and Belfast Health & Social Care Trust.


The Belfast Area Domestic & Sexual Violence and Abuse Partnership is made up of agencies, organisations, groups and individuals, to include members of the legal profession, who share a common interest and purpose in improving services and support for victims of domestic violence.

On 27th November 2017, the Partnership launched their new domestic & sexual violence App, named ‘Haven: Belfast’ at an event at Belfast’s City Hall.

The App is free to download and is for anyone experiencing domestic and/or sexual violence within an intimate partner relationship and further provides information to various professionals who may come into contact with domestic abuse in the course of their work.

Life Law NI’s very own Karen Connolly  was involved in the Partnership’s Working Group for developing ‘Haven: Belfast’:-

“It has been a pleasure working with the Partnership on the development of ‘Haven: Belfast’.  The App provides an array of material on domestic violence, to include useful information on how to recognise the warning signs of an abusive relationship and where to go for support. 

There is information contained within the App of the various legal remedies a person has for gaining protection from an abusive relationship.   It will hopefully act as a useful tool for clients and legal professionals alike in tackling domestic abuse within our society”.

‘Haven: Belfast’ can be downloaded at the App store or on Google Play from today.

The Impact of Domestic Abuse on Mental Health

To mark World Mental Health Day earlier this week, Sarah Bruce & Dympna McKeown of Belfast and Lisburn Women’s Aid wrote the following article which very eloquently looks at the impact that domestic violence and abuse can have on a person’s mental health. 

We are very grateful to Belfast and Lisburn Women’s Aid for allowing us to share this piece with our followers:-

World Mental health Day_October 17_Blog1 (002)

If you require assistance in relation to domestic abuse, you can call the 24 Hour Domestic and Sexual Violence Helpline, a completely confidential service, on 0808 802 1414
If you require any further information on the law regarding domestic abuse in NI, please feel free to contact us directly on 


LIFE BITE: Men’s Advisory Project calls for more help for male domestic abuse victims

apple-150579_1280The Men’s Advisory Project have called for more help to be made available to male victims of domestic abuse in Northern Ireland. 

The organisation has said that they have seen a notable increase in people coming to them for help – they supported 536 clients in 2015 compared to 294 in 2013. 
The most recent figures from the Police Service of Northern Ireland show that 3,104 men were victims of domestic violence between August 2014 and 2015.

James Knox, the project manager at the Men’s Advisory Project, has highlighted that the support services available for male domestic abuse victims in Northern Ireland are less extensive than for women.

James said: “While the PSNI’s gender-neutral poster campaign is a step in the right direction, there is more that could be done.  If there was more help available for male victims of domestic abuse it would save lives.”

To find out more about the Men’s Advisory Project,  read our ‘LifeSupports’ blog from them or contact MAP at

For more information on domestic violence, please click here or contact us here.