Our specialist team of domestic violence solicitors at Lawtons has extensive experience in representing domestic abuse cases, combined with the ability to provide the necessary care, support and understanding for all those involved.

Our family solicitors specialise in domestic abuse cases and every member of our family law team appreciate the delicacy of the situation in any case of domestic violence. We understand the effects that domestic violence has on children, dependants and family relationships, as well as on your life outside the home and at work.

Cases of domestic violence are often exceptionally emotionally draining. We appreciate cases of this nature are not always straightforward as they involve the complexities and intricacies that come with a personal relationship. At Lawtons we will work with you to prepare the best lines of defence.

Our domestic violence solicitors will work with you, at your own pace, to ensure the full facts of the case are discovered. We will provide you with the necessary peace of mind that you will be looked after through the whole legal process.

What is classified as domestic violence by law?

Domestic violence is an umbrella term and includes assaults, criminal damage and any episode of threatening violence, abuse or behaviour between adults who have been, or are currently, intimate partners or members of the same family.

The cross-government definition of domestic violence and abuse is:

Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality.’

Domestic violence is not just considered in terms of physical violence, such as common assault, ABH or GBH.

It can also include:

  1. Behaviour deemed as controlling, which can include financial abuse
  2. Threats
  3. Sexual abuse
  4. Sexual assault
  5. Emotional and/or psychological abuse
  6. Harassment and stalking
  7. Forced marriage
  8. Female genital mutilation (FGM)
  9. Honour-based abuse

Sentencing for cases of domestic abuse

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) determines the severity of a case of domestic violence based on a number of factors, primarily assessing the associated risks and working with the police to investigate and possibly take a case to court.

Sentencing for cases of domestic abuse will be very much determined on a case by case basis. Aggravating factors – such as previous convictions and the impact on children – will influence a final decision. Additionally, the history of the relationship will often be relevant in assessing the gravity of the offence.

The maximum sentence depends on the nature of the case and what has been alleged. As a matter of general principle, a sentence imposed for an offence of domestic violence should be determined by the severity of the offence, not by the expressed wishes of the victim.

Most offences of domestic violence are dealt with in a magistrates’ court as an offence of common assault or assault occasioning ABH.

What should you do if you are accused of domestic violence?

Domestic violence is regarded as one of the most sensitive areas of the law for everyone involved and even seeking specialist advice can seem daunting. If you are accused of domestic violence, you may be arrested without notice or asked to attend the police station. If you find yourself in either of these situations, you should seek specialist legal advice before answering any police questions.

Being question by the police regarding a domestic assault accusation can be a particularly emotional experience, especially if a family member has made the allegation against you. It will be difficult for you to make important decisions and to withstand questioning, so you should ensure you consult a specialist domestic violence solicitor.

The specialist team at Lawtons has the necessary experience to guide you through this very difficult process. We can guide you every step of the way with expert legal advice and support.

There are a variety of legal options open to dealing with domestic violence and it is critical to discuss these with a specialist solicitor to ensure the best outcome for everyone involved.

For more information and advice on the laws and sentencing surrounding cases of domestic violence, or to discuss a specific case of abuse in a relationship in complete confidence, contact our specialist domestic violence solicitors.


See below for a list of case studies relating to defending clients accused of domestic violence offences:


Man assaulted ex-girlfriend for mobile phone – Luton Crown Court– June 2015

Man verbally abused wife – 2 year conditional discharge sentence at St Albans Crown Court– June 2015


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