Did you know the Family Courts are still open and operating hearings throughout the Covid19 pandemic … ?

Do you need urgent assistance:

  • to facilitate child contact arrangements, or
  • to enable the return of your child to your care, or
  • to provide protection for yourself against an abusive partner?

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused enormous changes to all of our lives, exacerbating anxiety for all in various ways but specifically within our family life.

It has been widely reported that domestic violence has increased significantly during the lockdown period.  

We have been forced to isolate in our homes, which can lead to anxiety and heated disagreements as to how best to provide for our families, particularly when living in separate homes and being desperate to keep our children safe.

Contacting the Police

If you are experiencing abuse or violence and are worried about your immediate safety, your first step should be to contact the police. If you are not able to find a private space to talk to make such a call, then you can use the  ‘silent solutions’  system. This is accessed by dialling 999. When the operator asks what service you require, enter 55 on your keypad.

 Dial 999, then 55 

Without you having to speak, this is detected by the operator who then contacts your local Police force as an emergency.

Boots pharmacies are offering access to safe spaces. If you need help, you can ask staff at the counter to use the consultation room where you will be able to contact services for help and advice.

Channel 5’s Abusive Partner documentary

On 13th May, Channel 5 aired a special documentary called How to leave your abusive partner safely in lockdown. The documentary aims to teach those who are in danger how to get out of the house and leave their partner safely and has had input from domestic abuse experts, the police, a domestic violence organisation, a counselling service and refuge. It is available to view on the My5 player until February 2023.

It is not uncommon for former abusive partners to still continue to exert control via the child contact arrangements. 

Help available from our Family Law team

If a former partner has made threats or has failed to keep to an existing child contact arrangement then Cunningtons’ Family Law team can assist even throughout the lockdown period.

We can advise you if arrangements can continue safely in compliance with government advice, or if an alternative arrangement could improve the situation overall.

We are committed to helping those in need, which is why we are offering a free 20 minute telephone call to anyone with a domestic abuse issue. We also hold a legal aid contract with the Legal Aid Agency.

Your access to Family Courts

The majority of Family Courts, although closed to the public, are still operating.

We can assist you in obtaining the appropriate emergency order. If you are facing a critical situation and need the protection of an order in an emergency do not delay. If you are residing with an abusive partner, even if this abusive behaviour has only started during lockdown, you do not have to endure it.

Contacting our Family Law department

Our expert family lawyers are here to help. The family law team at Cunningtons have a wealth of experience and can carefully guide you through some of the most difficult times of your life.

You can telephone our family department at Braintree Monday to Thursday from 9am until 4pm on 01376 567276 or if you are unable to talk or make contact during those times you can email jill.wiggins@cunningtons.co.uk.

Our Chelmsford family department can be contacted on 01245 295504 between 4pm until midnight Monday to Friday or alternatively you can email jenny.lapwood@cunningtons.co.uk and our Wickford family department can be contacted via telephone Monday to Friday between 9.30am and 2.30pm on 01268 739328 or alternatively you can email louise.paynter@cunningtons.co.uk


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