Love actually? Or plain old domestic abuse?

As many prepare to treat their loved ones this Valentine’s Day, others are suffering the consequences of domestic abuse.

Many abusive relationships begin life with a flattering display of love and affection, which can then deteriorate into unreasonable jealousy and possessiveness, often leading to abusive and controlling behaviour which escalates over time.

Domestic abuse includes any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse. This can be physical, sexual, emotional or financial.

Controlling behaviour makes a person feel subordinate or dependent. Often the abuser will achieve this by isolating their victim from sources of support, exploiting their resources for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence or regulating their everyday behaviour.

Coercive behaviour is an act or pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish or frighten.

There are many factors at this time of year which can affect relationships, such as high expectations, stress and financial pressure. These can all lead to a relationship becoming abusive. Historic reports show a fall in incidents over the Valentine’s period. This may be because of increased campaigning around this time, or because victims are more reluctant to report such incidents at this time of year.

The Statistics

Despite a large amount of domestic abuse going unreported, it continues to represent a significant proportion of all reported violent crime. The 2017 Crime Survey for England and Wales showed a 20% increase in crime being flagged as domestic abuse – possibly due to improved reporting and/or improved identification by police of domestic abuse – and it accounted for 32% of all violent crime report between April 2016 and March 2017.

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If you think you may be experiencing domestic abuse or you are at all concerned for your safety, or the safety of your children, family solicitors can take fast and effective legal steps that can protect you.

The Lester Aldridge family team deal with these and other issues on a regular basis and are frequently instructed by clients regarding divorce proceedings.

lester-aldridge-logoIf you would like to discuss any aspect of separation, arrangements for your children or wish to protect your assets prior to getting married, contact the family team on 01202 786161 or email

About Lester Aldridge LLP

Lester Aldridge LLP is a nationally recognised law firm with offices in London, Bournemouth and Southampton. The family team are leaders in their field. Jane, Jo and Rosie are specialist family solicitors with a wealth of experience in all areas of family law from divorce to children, prenuptial agreements to the settlement of financial disputes and everything in between. These women are feisty when they need to be. But their approach is designed to reduce conflict in order to ensure the best possible outcome. They recognise that family issues can be extremely emotional and they offer access to specialist advice delivered in a friendly, approachable and understandable way designed to guide you from start to finish. If you would like an informal, no-obligation chat with Jane, Jo or Rosie please telephone 03300 539754.