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I was in an abusive physical/coercive controlling marriage

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I was in an abusive physical/coercive controlling marriage for 20+ years in the UK. I am now divorced. The police investigated the situation last year and submitted the case to the CPS last month. They believed what I told them, but said there wasnt enough evidence to guarantee a conviction (as whilst marriage I hadnt realised it was abusive as that's all Id known). He is now on the Clares Law domestic abuse register. I would like to start a website/blog to help other people in a domestic abuse situations, but also to blog about what my married life was like to help people recognise the signs. I would change names and places, but still wondered if I'm legally allowed to blog about that part of my life, or would that be considered defamation?
JA: What steps have you taken? Have you filed any papers in family court?
Customer: Steps taken to write a blog? Or do you mean have I been to court about his behaviour?
JA: Family Court normally sits in a local County and Magistrates' Court. Do you know the location of the court? If not, what county do you live in?
Customer: I'm in London in the UK. I left my ex early 2017. Since then I've obtained a consent order (in which my lawyer referred to his domestic abuse), a decree absolute, and a non-molestation order (expires 26 june 2020)
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: In May 2019 I went to the police to stop my ex harassment and to tell them of how we'd been living. In April 2020, that's when the CPS decided not to take it further as I'd not known to retain physical evidence

Good day your question has been forwarded to me to see if I may be able to assist

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'm happy for us to type rather than call, if we're able to reach a conclusion

That’s fine, I am typing a response to you as we speak. You may have received an automated prompt for a call which you may ignore.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ah ok - yes that's what I received.

A defamatory statement is described as one which injures the reputation of another person and "tends to lower the person in the estimation of right-thinking members of society generally. So, in writing the blog you could, in theory say something that is construed as defamatory.
A defence to a claim for defamation however, is if you are able to establish that what is being said is the truth. In those circumstances he could not take any actions against you.

Practically however, I recommend as you have proposed to change the names of places and persons so as to not identify him personally. In those circumstances he could not say that what you have typed would affect him.

Hope I clarified things for you. Kindly let me know if I may be of further assistance.

Kindly take the time to indicate your acceptance of the answer given. You may do this by clicking on the stars at the top of the page.

All the best

RL

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Altho names and places would be changed, events would be specific and therefore I guess that he could perhaps know that it was him in some instances. Would the fact that I've changed names/places be enough for my blog to be on the right side of the law, and the fact that the police have a lot of his behaviour documented (even tho it didnt get as far as conviction in court) and therefore would that count as enough "evidence" if he ever did sue etc?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I realise there are many people commenting on posts about their own experience of domestic abuse, and indeed blogs about domestic abuse, but are they doing it because it's legal for then to do so, ir because they're just writing about it without checking first?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I would like to cover my back and know exactly what I should/shouldn't include in a post, so that I'm protected from any comeback by my ex. As you can imagine it's not been the easiest of roads living with him.

Kindly give me a minute to read what you have typed

Why didn’t it go further re the court? Was he found not guilty or is it that you withdrew the case?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The police investigated the matter and out a report together for the CPS, but the CPS didnt consider that there was enough evidence to get a conviction.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
This was because neither me nor my daughter had kept any physical evidence of the way my ex made us live (as I didnt realise until after we'd separated and I'd read on the internet/mentioned my homely life to people, that it was wrong) but also because physical abuse and harassment has to go to court within six months of it happening, and the coercive control can only be considered post the Act becoming law in 2015

Ok I understand.

the fact that he recognizes its him is not enough for it to be considered slanderous. He would also need to show that a third party knowing it was him changed their view of him as a result or that it affected him in some way. So the importance is not necessarily his knowledge, but a third party’s knowledge. I hope that is sufficiently clear.

the fact that you have changed names and places will however protect any potential claims from him

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
However the abuse is documented in the police report and also statements ai gsve to my solicitors to get the non-molestation order. He was also interviewed by the police. But he has not been convicted of that due to time statute and lack of ohy
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
physical evidence

I understand. Kindly see my response above

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks.
People who I've spoken to separately about him will perhaps think negatively of him, but anyone who doesnt know me reading the blog, wouldn't know that it is him and therefore wouldnt think negatively of him specifically. Have I understood that correctly, ie that it's a separate issue if people in our life knowing what he's done, think negatively if him?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Are you saying that me having changed names/places, is the accepted level of effort expected by Courts for me to anonymise the situation when typing about my life? Or is there anything else I should do?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
as I hope you can appreciate, as much as I would like to help others by blogging about my marriage, having lived through a lot of gas lighting and fear with my ex, it's important to me that I have clarity understanding the legal side because of the kind of person he is)
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
As a solicitor, which area of law do you practice in in the UK, or are you based in another country?

I am a UK trained Barrister. I practice at the civil court.

Here is the Defamation Act for you to peruse:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2013/26

I recommend that you have a look at the Act itself so that you may be reassured as to any concerns you may have. I understand your concerns, however I find I have answered your question. For your estranged partner to say your written words are defamatory you must have, in these circumstance:

  • published something; and
  • in writing, print or some other permanent form.

In addition, he must show that:

The published statement has caused or is likely to cause serious harm to his reputation.

The above factors must be present in order for him to bring a successful claim therefore.

It goes without saying that if you have not mentioned his name or anything that identifies him that he would not be able to establish that your post is speaking about him. He would also not be able to show that a post that does not identify him specifically damaged his reputation.

whilst I do appreciate your concerns, I do not believe I could be any clearer on the issue.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you so much. I am very grateful for your advice.

You are most welcome.

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