Criminal Law and the Family Client

19 JUN 2006

Chris Oswald, Solicitor, Mediator and Criminal Advocate. We have all been there - the Monday morning phone call from the tearful client reporting that a violent spouse has ruined the weekend and asking you to help. No, this is not another run-through of the personal protection orders available in the county court, rather a discussion of how the criminal law has impact in the same field and how knowledge of this can help the family practitioner's clients.

The world is changing and the police no longer say 'Sorry, can't help - its domestic'. The police will now get involved and far more quickly than you as their solicitor can. Enlightened and sympathetic Domestic Violence Units (DVUs) will now take incidents of domestic abuse seriously and will act within the bounds of the criminal law. They are aware of the wider aspects of domestic abuse beyond violence itself. Individual police forces have clearly defined domestic abuse policies, many of which are posted on the net - it is worth checking for your area. What, then, can you tell your client to expect from the criminal process? See July [2006] Fam Law 546 for the full article.

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