‘Mad Friday’ brings fears of spike in domestic violence call-outs

With the festive period in full swing, the emergency services are today faced with one of their busiest days of the year. Known as “Mad Friday”, the…

With the festive period in full swing, the emergency services are today faced with one of their busiest days of the year. Known as 'Mad Friday', the last Friday before Christmas has traditionally seen a large increase in police callouts and A&E admissions. In previous years, more than £15m has been spent in bars, pubs and clubs in that night alone, while calls to police forces across the country have been known to increase by up to 50% compared to a normal weekend.

Any large-scale event involving an increase in alcohol consumption can have a corresponding effect on incidents of domestic abuse. Research by the Institute of Alcohol Studies has shown that up to 50% of domestic abuse perpetrators had been drinking at the time of assault, while cases of severe violence and rape are twice as likely as others to have links to alcohol abuse.

Victims of domestic violence have a number of legal routes to protect themselves from further attacks. The first port of call in the aftermath of an incident, or where a potential victim finds themselves in danger, should be the police. Criminal charges may follow and a Restraining Order can then be made restricting contact between the parties.

Where there are no criminal charges or where a police investigation is pending, the Family Court has the power to grant Non-Molestation and Occupation Orders. A Non-Molestation Order is similar to a Restraining Order and will commonly include provisions that someone should not use or threaten violence, harass or intimidate another. It can also limit communications between the parties.

An Occupation Order can be used to exclude a party from a property and restrict them from coming within a certain distance of a property. Both forms of Order will include a power of arrest so that criminal proceedings can be brought swiftly in the event of a breach.

Not all domestic abuse takes a physical form and the same orders can be made in respect of emotional, sexual or psychological abuse. If you are experiencing any form of domestic abuse, whether linked to the Christmas party period or not, you should consider contacting a Family Law solicitor for further advice about what can be done.

Matthew Taylor is a Family Law Solicitor at Top 45 national law firm, Weightmans LLP
Matthew.taylor@weightmans.com
www.weightmans.com

 

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