Domestic violence specialists join Lancashire law firm

Child care and survivor-support service receives boost

Vincents Solicitors has expanded its specialist family and child care team once again with
two new appointments. Family law solicitor Fahrat Unnisa and experienced paralegal Erica
Fielding will focus on helping victims of domestic violence with urgent and ongoing support.

Fahrat Unnisa joins Vincents from Farnworth Shaw in Nelson, prior to which she was at
Watson Ramsbottom in Blackburn where she worked with Val Shaw, head of child care
department at Vincents.

“Fahrat has spent most of her 22-year career working with victims of domestic abuse in East
Lancashire. She is also a member of the Family Law Advanced Panel for domestic violence
and children.

“Victims of domestic violence need fast and effective access to justice. Within hours of
being contacted, we can use the courts to help them by making an urgent application for a
non-molestation order to prevent the perpetrator from being violent and threatening
towards the victim.

“Where children are involved we can also secure emergency orders to prevent a partner
from taking away the children, ensuring the safety of everyone in that critical period up to
the hearing date, and through the process thereafter,” said Fahrat.

“By working closely with the refuges and domestic violence initiatives, I am asked to get
involved at the very earliest stage to help a victim and their children with their immediate
needs, and bring together the evidence for the later court case.

“There are, of course, domestic abuse victims who don’t use a refuge or seek help from a
charity, who may not know where to turn, and for whom a legal specialist should be their
first port of call.”

As an Urdu and Punjabi speaker, Fahrat is also able to offer tailored support for families who
may be struggling with a language barrier in domestic abuse or other child care matters. She
can work with families who are involved with social services from the moment they are
issued with pre-proceedings and throughout any subsequent child care hearings.

Her arrival comes soon after that of child care solicitor Nina Ellement, formerly head of legal
for Cumbria County Council, and further strengthens Vincents’ dedicated child care team.

Fahrat said: “I’m keen to focus exclusively on child care and domestic violence cases and to
work as part of a really strong team. I was impressed with Vincents’ experience within the
Family Law department, and the child care team in particular. Both Val Shaw and Nina
Ellement are very well respected in this field and being able to work with Val once again was
another huge draw for me.”

Paralegal Erica Fielding is also a specialist in child care and domestic violence cases, having
worked in this area for 18 years and provided direct support through regular refuge clinics.
She joins the firm from Watson Ramsbottom in Blackburn, prior to which she was at
Roebucks where she secured her Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEX ) Level 3
qualification. Erica will continue her CILEX training to Level 6 with the support of Vincents’
in-house programme.

Child care department head Val Shaw said: “Domestic violence and survivor support is a
very sensitive area of work which requires the utmost professionalism and empathy,
something which both Fahrat and Erica share. Their arrival complements the team’s existing
strengths and provides our clients with access to highly skilled practitioners in all aspects of
child care and private family law.”

To contact Fahrat and the child care team to discuss how Vincents can assist, please call
01772 555 176.