Domestic Abuse and Options for Victims – interactive evening

Mary McEvoy, Partner and Head of Divorce and Family Law and Notary Public at Neves Solicitors in Harpenden came to the Club in June and spoke about:

 – Development of the Law in the area of domestic violence

– Current position

– Practical information: what to do if you are the victim of abusive behaviour

– What help is out there for both for victims & perpetrators

– What’s missing? What other help/support/frameworks should be provided?

Despite the really hot weather, the Club was delighted to welcome 16 visitors, many of whom work in the Domestic Abuse arena, to the Club’s “Violence Against Women” Team Speaker Meeting. The speaker, Mary McEvoy is a hightly experienced family lawyer from the Harpenden firm Neves. She has been working in family law for over 30 years and told us that she has often represented victims (and sometimes perpetrators) of domestic abuse, working especially in the family courts.

Mary took us through the various laws that relate to domestic abuse and gave us a very clear explanation of coercion and control, which became offences in 2016. She also explained about Clare’s Law (the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme), under which anyone can apply for a disclosure. It is designed to protect potential victims of domestic abuse by allowing them to request information about their partner’s past, or that of a person of concern to them.

Mary explained about Non-Molestation Orders, Occupation Orders, Domestic Violence Protection Orders and Domestic Violence Protection Notices and she was clear on how police attitudes had changed over time. She also pointed out that Hertfordshire is a bit of a Legal Aid desert, but did tell us that there are many voluntary agencies that assist those affected.

With such a knowledgeable audience,  a lively discussion and Q&A session was held at the end of the meeting, which continued throughout the coffee break.
We can feel justly proud of bringing together people in different areas of the field, who were then able to network with others that they had never encountered.
We are most grateful to Kathy for arranging for Adam to film the session and we hope to have that available to view and distribute shortly. We are also, of course, indebted to Mary for giving up her evening to talk to us.

Pictured here with Mary are Soroptimists Denise Powell (L) and Kathy Weston (R) who were the main organisers of this successful event.

About Mary

Mary McEvoy is the Partner and Head of Divorce and Family Law and Notary Public at Neves Solicitors in Harpenden. She graduated from Warwick University and joined Neves in 1981, becoming a partner in 1984. She has specialised in divorce and family law and is also a trained collaborative lawyer. She spent 15 years as a child care solicitor representing children and parents going through the care system. Many were subject to domestic abuse, both children and parents. Her general family law practice has exposed her to a wide range of issues including: clients divorcing, marrying, engaging in disputes re children and adopting children. Mary is a member of the Law Society’s Family Law Panel and a member of Resolution.

Soroptimists follow domestic abuse issues closely and have successfully campaigned for improvements in the law and support for victims. The Club supports the St Albans and Hertsmere and the Welwyn Hatfield Women’s Refuges.