90 days from today is Mon, 26 April 2021
23 July 2020
Irwin Mitchell’s family team has a wealth of experience in dealing with separation, divorce and financial matters. The team has a longstanding relationship with the Police Federation, having supported members with legal issues not only relating to divorce and the financial matters arising from the same (including extensive expertise in police pensions and related issues) but also in respect of matters relating to child arrangements and issues of domestic abuse.
The Government’s decision to limit the nation’s movements as of 23 March 2020 in a bid to control coronavirus had an immediate impact on everyone. For some of our clients within the Police Federation, the lockdown has also presented them with difficult and even dangerous situations relating to their family lives including issues relating to child arrangements and also in respect of domestic abuse with such referrals having, sadly, increased, during the pandemic.
During lockdown, Irwin Mitchell has provided increased expert support and advice to police officers dealing with issues including their children’s movement between family homes during the pandemic. Our solicitors have successfully secured urgent court orders from the Family Courts for reinstatement of child arrangements where no reasonable excuse has been provided for contact being prohibited by the other parent (notwithstanding the Government lockdown guidance), and also orders relating to domestic abuse including non-molestation orders, protecting clients from the risk of further harm experienced prior to and during lockdown.
Irwin Mitchell recognised that, following the Government’s advice that all must socially isolate and stay at home as much as possible, the support services usually open to victims of domestic abuse would be stretched further than normal and, for victims, their home would not be their safe haven. Domestic abuse reports soared, with calls to the National Domestic Abuse helpline run by Refuge reaching 25 per cent above average in the second week of lockdown and 49 per cent higher than normal after three weeks.
In response to these concerning figures, the Government gave more than 100 domestic abuse charities a share of £8.1 million to continue to provide life-saving services.
It was clear to Irwin Mitchell that it, too, must provide support to its clients during the pandemic.
To that end, Irwin Mitchell began offering free 20-minute consultations in April 2020, for the purpose of offering advice and guidance to anyone with any domestic abuse concerns. Irwin Mitchell’s free advice helpline has transformed several people’s lives, and we would encourage any member of the Police Federation to access this support if necessary (or signpost to those who are in need), to secure the civil protection required.
All potential victims should call us on 0370 1500 100 for a free 20-minute talk. A previous client of Irwin Mitchell, and member of the Police Federation, has kindly provided the following comments on their experience with the Irwin Mitchell family team:
“Splitting up from your partner where there are children involved can amount to one of the most distressing periods of your life. I remember being at rock bottom and not knowing which way to turn. As a police officer you have all the advice in the world to offer and support other people, but then when you find yourself in a similar position, it is a very lonely place.
“I eventually opened up to a colleague who suggested that I speak to the Police Federation to see how they could support me. This was something that I had never even considered. I made an appointment at the Federation with Caroline Harris who talked me through my finances and ways that Federation schemes could support me and then in turn Caroline put me in touch with Mark Hands, a solicitor from Irwin Mitchell, Birmingham, to talk through my separation. Mark rang me up and within minutes he put me at ease and I trusted him. We arranged an initial appointment, free of charge. Mark subsequently assisted with my divorce and complicated financial order and I was so thankful that his fees were very reasonable.
“This is a period of my life where looking back now I can say that I was in crisis. Not only were the Federation there for me in a way that I never expected, Mark and the team at Irwin Mitchell also supported me every step of the way and for that I will truly be forever grateful.” Member of the Police Federation (Anonymous but published with consent).