Rachel’s four-year relationship with the respondent ended following a lengthy period of emotional abuse and coercive control. Coercive control is a form of controlling behaviour which often escalates over a period of time. Due to how subtly this form of abuse can begin and progress, it’s not uncommon for victims to find themselves unknowingly participating in a relationship that has a coercive component.
After speaking with Rachel, we found that to be the reality for her. She told us that many incidents of emotional abuse and controlling behaviour went unreported, simply because that was the ‘norm’ within the relationship. In one example, she shared with us that her former partner controlled her use of social media, but he also exerted control over many aspects of her day-to-day life. With the pattern of behaviour developing over a period of time, it wasn’t initially apparent what was happening under the surface.
In Rachel’s case, the escalation of control led to threats and physical harm. Her former partner had threatened to damage the former family residence, leaving Rachel afraid that he may arrive unannounced and unwanted, at any time.
Following an upsetting incident with her former partner, Rachel made a formal police complaint. Whilst the police continued to investigate the incidents Rachel reported to them, she was left without legal protection during that process.
Upon contacting us, our experienced team moved quickly to support her and within 48 hours, we had helped her to draft the required witness statement and lodged an application for a protective injunction – non molestation order (NMO). The NMO was granted by the court for a duration of 12 months. This order legally prevents Rachel’s former partner from contacting, harassing, pestering, or intimidating her. It also prohibits the respondent from instructing third parties to contact or communicate with Rachel on his behalf.
Breaching an NMO is a serious office, which can lead to arrest or imprisonment. As such, Rachel feels protected and has begun to move on with her life. She is pleased that the NMO also shields her child from further emotional abuse and no longer lives in fear of the respondent.