In Plymouth we have access to a unique project which is supported by Devon & Cornwall Constabulary and the Plymouth Domestic Abuse Partnership. The Project provides funding to individuals who need either a Non-Molestation and/or an Occupation order but who would otherwise not be eligible or have access to Legal Aid.

Under this project, Domestic Abuse and Private Law Children specialist Alex Boardman provided advice to the mother of two young children who had divorced from her husband after a relationship lasting over 14 years. The children had consistent periods of contact with their father but this was sporadic due to the father’s lifestyle choices, drug and alcohol misuse. Prior to seeking advice from us, the mother had sought intervention through the police and Social Services had carried out assessments. The mother also had documents relating to previous proceedings before the court dealing with the same issues as these had presented themselves throughout the relationship, and a safety plan had been drawn up to deal with any future periods of relapse by father.

When matters escalated to include threats of harm and an actual assault by the father on a family member, the mother felt it was time for some form of formal protection for her and the children. We made an application without notice to the court within days of the most recent assault. The court was persuaded that the legal criteria had been met and granted a Non-Molestation order to the mother. At the return hearing the father attended and although he did not agree to everything in the mother’s statement he consented to the order containing in its terms for the period set by the court. The mother and her children are now able to get on with their lives in a much more positive way without fear.

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