Your legal rights
You have the right to be protected under the law if you are a victim of violence. Your options can include criminal law (through the police) or civil law (through a solicitor):
Civil law, aimed at protection of victim
Civil orders (or injunctions) can be used to keep you safe by placing legal restrictions on your partner to prevent or limit violence. This may involve an occupation order which excludes your partner from the property; non-molestation orders which prevent your partner from assaulting you or your children.
Criminal law, aimed at punishment of offender
If you contact the police they will make the decision whether to arrest the offender or not. The Crown Prosecution Service will then make a decision whether to prosecute. If your partner is arrested and released on bail there is usually conditions attached to the bail to prohibit communication with you and to stay away from you.
The police have a Community Safety Unit - a specialist unit based in Harrow with police officers dealing specifically with domestic violence. It is not a 24 hour emergency service. Contact them on 0208 733 3462. The Community Safety Unit will also follow up any crimes/incidents you ahve reported.
Your solicitor will also be able to give you information and assist you with making a claim. They will often take a small percentage of any award you have made as payment. Check this with your solicitor in advance.
In emergencies always dial 999