Domestic Violence

"At any given moment you have the power to say this is not how the story is going to end" 
- Christine Mason Miller

There are two main types of injunctions available under the Family Law Act 1996:
- Non-molestation orders
- Occupation orders

Non-Molestation Orders

A non-molestation order is aimed at preventing a person from using or threatening violence against you, or intimidating, harassing, pestering or molesting you, in order to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of you and any relevant children.

Only those classified as "associated persons" can apply.  This covers a wide range of relationships and does not just include partners or former partners but can include other members of your family.

Breach of a non-molestation order is a criminal offence and if an order was made and the abuser did anything that was prohibited by it, you can contact the Police who will arrest them.

Always use the Police as a first port of call in any urgent situations.  Often people seek non-molestation orders immediately after reporting an incident to the Police.

It's important to remember that domestic violence isn't always just physical - it can include verbal, emotional, psychological, sexual, financial and other types.  Non-molestation orders can help protect against different types of abuse.  You shouldn't ever presume that the abuse you are experiencing is irrelevant.

Occupation Orders

An occupation order regulates occupation of the family home.  It can state who has the right to stay there, who should return and can include orders about who will pay the rent, mortgage, bills and maintain the home.  It can also exclude someone from part or all of the home and prevent someone from entering within a certain radius around the home or a particular area.

An occupation order does not change financial ownership of a property - this can be dealt with in other ways.  Usually occupation orders are made to last six or twelve months and this will largely depend on your needs.

If an occupation order has a power of arrest attached, on breach of the order you can contact the Police who will arrest the person named.  Often occupation orders are made in addition to non-molestation orders.

Points to note

  • There is no court fee to apply for a non-molestation order or occupation order.  If you have a lawyer acting for you, you will still need to pay their legal costs unless you receive legal aid.  (Please note that we do not offer legal aid as a firm)
  • These types of orders may not work for everyone in the same way and in some cases may even be counter-productive.  A large part of it is how much the perpetrator fears being arrested
  • Always use the Police as your first port of call in emergencies, and report incidents as soon as they happen so you can be given appropriate protection and guidance
  • Be encouraged to access the support that domestic violence services can offer.  They can help you to secure emergency accommodation and provide ongoing support through the next steps.  A good starting point is contacting the National Domestic Abuse Helpline open 24/7 on 0808 2000 247.

This page is intended for basic information purposes only and should not be considered substitute for obtaining your own independent legal advice.  Please contact Michaela Sargeant, complete our online enquiry form or call our offices on 01444 235232.