I have been in a relationship with my fiancé for five years, we moved in together about a year ago and we were really happy. He lost his job around 6 months ago and since then his behaviour and attitude towards me has changed. He physically attacks me, shouts at me and tries to control me and I am afraid of him. He has become very abusive. I feel like I cannot speak to anyone as if he finds out he will beat me and shout at me. I am very scared, I am feeling low and I don’t know how or where to get help?
This sounds to be a very difficult and upsetting position that you are in. It is important for you to know that there is help and support available to you. In this situation it would be safer for you to leave the property. If you feel that you are unable to go to your family or friends for support, you could always seek the help of a refuge. A refuge would be able to support you and may be able to offer you a safe place to live.
In legal terms you may be eligible for the protection of a Court Order against your abusive partner. It would therefore be advisable to seek legal representation as soon as possible. You may be able to then apply to get the protection of a Non-Molestation Order. As you have lived with your boyfriend for a year you would therefore meet part of the criteria for a Non-Molestation Order.
A Non-Molestation Order is a protective order that will stop whoever it is made against from being able to do certain things to you or to get others to do or say things to you. It can be made in specific terms or they can be more general. This type of order will stop the person who it is made against from being able to continue to abuse you both physically and or verbally or come where you may reside. It will also prevent them contacting you through another person. If this order is made by a court it will usually offer you protection for one year. In this time if the person that the order is made against does try to breach the terms of the order and tries to abuse you then you can telephone the police and they can then arrest the person who is named in the order.
Legal Aid is available in this area of law and therefore if you are financially eligible for Legal Aid then you will be eligible for it for this matter.
Please note that this advice was correct at the time of writing. However there may have been changes in the law or procedure since that date. If you are in doubt you should obtain up to date legal advice.