Posted on: March 4th, 2015

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Cygnet Law is enhancing the service it provides to victims of domestic abuse with the expansion of its specialist team and the launch of a round-the-clock legal helpline called Reach Out.

Cygnet already has a strong reputation for helping victims of domestic abuse and legal experts Stacey Phoenix and Natalie Blake have been recruited to work alongside Associate Solicitor, Gemma Brooks to provide the 24/7 service.

All three are highly regarded and experienced domestic violence legal practitioners.

The Reach Out helpline will complement the department that Cygnet has established for individuals who have suffered from, or are at risk from, abuse or violence in family relationships or who may know someone who is a victim.

People can either ring the helpline – 07437 597 064 – or *text ‘Out’ to the number and Gemma, Stacey or Natalie will call them back to provide free legal advice.

If necessary, arrangements can be started in relation to applications for non-molestation orders, and orders protecting residence of the family home and the safety of any children.

Additionally, Cygnet’s experts will make callers aware of, and refer them to, local domestic violence support services include local Women’s Refuge provision.

Peter Medd, Director of Cygnet Law, said: “We want to hammer home the message that legal action can be taken against perpetrators of abuse and that victims should be able to ‘reach out’ at any time for expert legal advice to help them do just that.

“Domestic abuse victims often feel trapped and isolated and need to be able to access support at a time they feel safe do so, such as when an abuser is asleep or has gone out, and this does not necessarily happen during office hours.

“Cygnet has forged a reputation as a provider of legal guidance and advice that assists people to escape and survive abuse and the aim of our 24/7 helpline is to further improve and expand the assistance we are able to offer to vulnerable members of the community.”

Mr Medd added: “However, we would stress that if anyone feels they are in immediate danger of being abused or assaulted they should dial 999.”

Stacey, who qualified as a Solicitor in 2010, has joined Cygnet having established extensive knowledge and a successful track record in all aspects of family law. In particular, she is committed to raising awareness of legal issues around Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) relationships and parenting.

At the time she was the youngest solicitor to be awarded Law Society Children’s Panel status when she became a panel member in March 2012 at the age of 26.

In this capacity she has represented parents, kinship carers, grandparents and children in both public and private-law cases. Stacey also has particular expertise in domestic violence and has received specialist training in forced marriage, Honour Based Violence, and Female Genital Mutilation.

Natalie is a Paralegal and an associate member of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEX) having gained a Law Degree in 2007 from Teesside University.

Natalie’s specialism is supporting individuals who have been faced with domestic violence and abuse, including forced marriage and honour-based violence.

She will provide a comprehensive and holistic approach to support Cygnet clients, from immediate advice and action to make a person, their children and home safe, through to longer term arrangements around children, property and divorce.

She has built up a strong relationship and reputation with a range of support organisations and services in Teesside and has particular experience in supporting and assisting Eastern European women living in the UK.

Mr Medd added: “Domestic abuse can happen between couples, relatives and friends and victims can be men or women. It also isn’t always physical – it can be sexual and emotional, which is now recognised by law.”

“Our experts will be here for anyone who needs to access legal advice surrounding domestic abuse at any time they need it.”

Gemma Brooks, who joined Cygnet two years ago, is a member of Resolution First for Family Law and the Law Society Family Law Advanced Panel with a speciality in cases involving domestic violence and in Children Act proceedings, completes Cygnet’s Reach Out helpline team.

* The message can be sent by either an SMS text or, alternatively, if the person is signed up to the WhatsApp free messaging service they can send a free message via that service.

Pic caption:  :  l-r: Gemma Brookes, Natalie Blake and Stacey Phoenix

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