Domestic violence is a form of violent crime. It involves the use of force, violence, illegal physical contact and even the use of any form of weapon such as a belt or shoes for instance, on the victim or claimant. Domestic violence or abuse may also extend to such offences as false imprisonment, rape and attempted murder. Where a fatality occurs as a result of domestic violence, the criminal offence is escalated to murder or manslaughter. As the ‘domestic’ aspect of the offence suggests, this form of violence usually occurs in intimate relationships and more often than not, between husband and wife, partners and people in a relationship in general. It is however also likely to occur between family members such as between parents and their children or even between siblings.
There are different sides to domestic violence and not all of them require physical contact. Domestic violence can also be emotional, psychological or even financial. More often than not however, we have found in our experience that physical contact or the threat of it; assault and/or battery, almost always goes hand in hand with the other forms of domestic abuse.
A domestic violence case may involve some element of emergency, particularly where children are involved. We are therefore conscious of the fact that your initial contact with us may be under rather distressful circumstances. As specialists in defending clients facing domestic violence charges for several years, London’s most prominent criminal defence law network will stand by you every step of the difficult way; providing you with the best legal representation and offering bespoke professional advice as and when necessary. All you have to do is contact us with the details of your case or the allegations you are facing and guarantee that our response will be immediate, practical and tailored to your particular needs. Our solicitors will exercise the utmost respect and sensitivity while requesting relevant information from you.
It is important for instance to let us know if your relationship appears to be over or if indeed the victim is willing to let the relationship continue in the hope that your differences can be dealt with. The importance of such information is based on the fact that the history of a relationship where domestic violence has been alleged is always taken into due cognisance by the court. A history of violence may act as an aggravating factor to make the offence look more serious. Where the other party is however prepared to make the relationship work and wishes to preserve its history, this may serve as a mitigating factor evidencing, for example, that the incident had been a one off following a few drinks too many. Also, where the victim of domestic violence is vulnerable in any way, and where children are exposed to violence, the court is more likely to see these as aggravating factors.
Specialist Domestic Violence Defence Lawyers
Although where issues related to separation, divorce, custody and the likes are concerned, the individual involved is better off seeking the legal expertise of a network of family lawyers, domestic violence is a criminal offence and must be dealt with by criminal defence lawyers. Our top London criminal solicitors have several years experience of defending clients charged with domestic violence and will be happy to hear from you no matter how complex your matter appears to be. We are very much aware of the difficulty an allegation of this nature poses for all parties involved and the impact it is likely to have on your relationship with the alleged victim.
We understand that discussing the intricate details of your relationship with people who appear to be strangers in the first instance may be a daunting prospect on its own. The assurance we can offer you is that after several years of practice and of defending clients against domestic violence charges, our solicitors know when to respect your privacy and what questions to ask that will enable us defend your case as robustly as possible. Our proactive approach in cases of this nature may actually see to it that the matter is settled out of court.
We have seen patterns develop in some of the domestic violence cases we have defended over the years and have found on many occasions that certain factors appear to increase the chances of violence in the home. These factors include alcohol consumption and financial difficulties. Domestic violence is as common in a heterosexual relationship as in a gay or lesbian relationship. It is also an offence that is committed by people regardless of their religious belief, nationality, social or financial status and sexual orientation. While domestic violence cannot and should not be excused for any reason, in our experience, there is very likely to be a defence ground once the surrounding circumstances are revealed. Even where there is no defence ground per se, it may very well be that there are mitigating factors which the court will take into consideration when imposing a sentence. Upon conviction, sentencing can range between community sentence, rehabilitation order, fine and/or custodial sentence.
Domestic Violence & Mitigating Factors:
One of the most persuasive mitigating factors in a domestic violence case is the intervention of the victim of the violence. The court can however mitigate a sentence discretionarily in a case where the spouse or family member who suffered the violence appeals to the court on the offender’s behalf or confirms the wish for the relationship to continue. It must be pointed out that this is not always the case and that other aggravating or mitigating factors will also be taken into due consideration; such as the offender’s remorse or lack thereof. The children’s welfare, where children are involved, the defendant’s good character and whether or not he or she is a first time offender are all potential mitigating factors which may reduce the sentence the court would ordinarily have handed down to the offender.