If you have been a victim of Domestic Violence, whether that is physical, verbal, emotional, psychological or sexual abuse, there are Court Orders that you can apply for to protect you. We can assist victims with applying for such Orders as well as represent Respondents in defending applications made against them
Legal Aid is available to Applicants for both Non-Molestation Orders and Occupation Orders provided that you meet the eligibility criteria. Please contact us to see if you are eligible for public funding.
What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence is an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour, including sexual violence, in the majority of cases by a partner or ex-partner, but also by a family member or carer.
Domestic violence is not always physical and often constitutes harassment and verbal abuse.
What to do when domestic violence occurs?
Domestic violence should be reported to the police as it may be classed as criminal behaviour however it is also possible to obtain civil inunctions to protect yourself. There are two types of injunctions; Non-Molestation Orders and Occupation Orders.
What are Non-Molestation Orders?
Non-Molestation Orders are granted by the Family Court to prevent perpetrators of domestic violence from using or threatening to use violence against you and/or your children or from intimidating, harassing or pestering you.
What are Occupation Orders?
An Occupation Order can exclude a perpetrator from the family home to protect you and/or your children from domestic violence. They do not change the legal ownership of the family home.
How can I get a Non-Molestation Order? What do I need?
A family law solicitor can advise you as to your options and assist you with making an application for a Non-Molestation if appropriate. You will need details of the perpetrators behaviour and any incidents that have taken place as your solicitor will need to prepare a statement of evidence to support your application.
How long do Non-Molestation and Occupation Orders last?
Duration of orders will vary from case to case but Non-Molestation Orders can often remain in place for up to a year to allow for a ‘cooling off period’. It is however possible to apply for an extension of an Order if it is breached or if problems continue.
Occupation Orders are usually made for shorter periods of time as their effect is more draconian in that they exclude the perpetrator from their home. The aim of these Orders is to allow the parties to reach an agreement regarding the property whilst protecting the Applicant from further abuse during that time.
What if Orders are breached?
It is a criminal offence to breach a Non-Molestation Order so any breaches should be reported to the police. It is also possible to return the matter to the Family Court for contempt proceedings.
Breach of an Occupation Order is not a criminal offence unless the Court attaches a power of arrest to the Order, usually in situations where the perpetrator has threatened or used physical violence. Otherwise, breaches constitute contempt of Court and can be dealt with by making an application to the Family Court.
What is an Undertaking?
If an application for a Non-Molestation Order is before the Court there are circumstances where the Court may accept an Undertaking from either party to the proceedings instead of making an Order.
An Undertaking is a promise to the Court which if breached means that you are in contempt of court and can be subjected to imprisonment or a fine.
An Undertaking can prevent the respondent from molesting the applicant in the same terms as a Non-Molestation Order, the difference is that a Power of Arrest cannot be attached to an Undertaking so if the respondent breaches an Undertaking he/she cannot automatically be arrested and the applicant will need to restore the matter back to Court.
Can a Non-Molestation Order be discharged/removed?
Non-Molestation and Occupation Orders are time limited and automatically discharge at the expiry of the period they are granted for. If however you decide that an Order is no longer necessary then it is possible to apply to the Court for it to be discharged prior to its expiry.
How much does it cost to get a Non-Molestation Order?
Legal Aid is available to Applicants for a Non-Molestation Order. You would however need to meet the means eligibility criteria.
Respondents in an application for a Non-Molestation Order are not entitled to legal aid.
If you are not eligible for legal aid, we can still assist you. Please contact our family law team for further details of our family law solicitors’ private rates
If you have any questions about non molestation or occupation orders, please contact Andriana Syrimis (email@example.com) or Sophie Lambert (firstname.lastname@example.org). Alternatively, you can contact us by completing our online contact form