A FAMILY law solicitor has been shortlisted for a national award.

Rachel Horman, a director at Watson Ramsbottom Solicitors, which has offices in Blackburn, Darwen, Great Harwood and Accrington, is in the running for the title of family partner of the year at the Family Law Awards.

The 41-year-old, from Burnley, is already nationally renowned for her family law expertise, particularly in the areas of domestic violence, stalking and forced marriage, having won the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year award in 2012.

She has also been invited to sit on two all party parliamentary groups dealing with stalking, harassment and domestic violence and has also joined the board of Paladin, the National Stalking Advocacy Service.

Miss Horman said: “I am chuffed to be shortlisted for the award, not just for me, but for the entire department, because I see it as something that the department does as a whole.”

She is currently campaigning for domestic violence to be made a specific crime to reflect the ‘nightmare’ victims suffer.

She added: “This is not about having an argument with your partner, it is something very different.

“When we are looking at domestic violence matters, there is generally an element of coercive control. To bring a prosecution, you would have to have more than one example of it.

“I think this would make a massive difference and I hope it will save lives.

“I have clients every day who have been to the police and told ‘come back when he hits you’, which is just not good enough.

“It is really serious and people are starting to realise now what impact it could have.”

Miss Horman, who was nominated for the award by a colleague at another law firm, will find out at a ceremony in London on October 8 if she has won the prize.

Watson Ramsbottom managing director Philip Thompson said: “Everyone who knows Rachel will be aware of her enthusiasm and total commitment to her work.

“It will come as no surprise to her many clients, colleagues and peers that her work is receiving such deserved recognition.”