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Divorce and domestic abuse

17 May

How do you divorce a domestic abuser? Olivia Piercy Family Solicitor and Domestic Abuse Specialist explains how.

Shattered mirror with a white flower in front of it

Domestic abuse affects millions of people worldwide, transcending borders, cultures, and socioeconomic backgrounds. It manifests in various forms, such as physical, emotional, sexual, or financial abuse, and has devastating consequences for the victims.

Often confused with Domestic violence, domestic abuse can be hard to identify and even harder to walk away from. By definition domestic abuse is a pattern of coercive behaviours used by one person to gain control over another within an intimate relationship; it often involves power imbalances, manipulation, and a systematic erosion of the victim's self-worth. It is crucial to remember that domestic abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of gender, age, or background.

The statistics surrounding domestic abuse are alarming. Approximately 1.6 million women and 786,000 men experience domestic abuse each year in England and Wales and it is believed that 25% is actually reported. It is also estimated that 1 in 5 children in the UK have been exposed to domestic abuse, which can have long-term detrimental effects on their well-being and development. Children who witness domestic abuse are more likely to experience mental health issues, engage in risky behaviours, and become victims or perpetrators of abuse themselves in the future. 

In this interview Olivia Piercy shares her expertises and advice on the subject. Olivia is ranked as a “Next Generation Partner” by The Legal 500, she is a talented lawyer praised for combining “empathy for her client with a ruthless feel for tactics”

Olivia’s broad practice and depth of knowledge enables her to provide clients with holistic family law advice. Equally comfortable advising on the child and finance aspects of family breakdown for both married and cohabiting couples, and with a particular focus on cross-border cases, Olivia’s practice includes child abduction, child protection, surrogacy and fertility law.

Having spent time early in her career as a legal officer at Rights of Women, and with a Master’s in Human Rights Law which focused on gender violence, Olivia is recognised for her expertise in domestic abuse and understanding of the dynamics of coercive control. Olivia sits on Resolution’s Domestic Abuse Committee, and serves on Mr Justice Cobb’s Private Law Working Group which keeps under review the court practice and procedure relating to private children cases.

Here is a summary of what you can expect from the interview. 

  1. Seek Legal Council: Consult with an experienced family solicitor who specialises in domestic abuse cases. They can guide you through the legal process, including obtaining a restraining order or protective order if necessary.
  2. Document Incidents: Maintain a record of all incidents of abuse, including dates, descriptions, and any evidence, such as photographs or medical records. This documentation can be crucial during legal proceedings.
  3. Emotional Support: You will need a strong support team around you. Reach out to supportive friends, family, or local support groups. But remember friends are not able to offer you professional or objective advice, you will also need professional support to help you heal from the emotional trauma and give you the tools you need to deal with your ex going forward, especially if you have children. 

Divorce is not easy, divorcing someone who has been abusive is even harder, but worth it for your own wellbeing and that of your children. Remember divorce does not damage children, exposure to constant abuse and conflict does.

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