Did you know?
- One woman in four experiences domestic violence in her lifetime – Office for National Statistics
- 15% of men aged 16 to 59 have experienced some form of domestic abuse – The Mankind Initiative
Domestic abuse can have a huge impact on your life but there are ways to protect yourself from such abuse. The police are always there to help and if criminal proceedings are brought against your partner, the court can make a restraining order against them, even if the proceedings do not result in a conviction. You can also apply to the family court for a non-molestation order.
What is a non-molestation order?
A non-molestation order is a court order which prohibits your partner, or former partner, from behaving inappropriately towards you. Sometimes a non-molestation order will seek to prevent a partner from making any contact whatsoever and/or from coming to the family home or it may simply prevent them from being violent, threatening, abusive or intimidating towards you.
Breach of a non-molestation order is a criminal offence which is viewed very seriously by the courts and carries a prison sentence of up to 5 years.
Who can apply?
You can usually apply if you have been the victim of domestic abuse and the other party (“the respondent”) is one of the following:
- Someone you are having, or have had, a relationship with
- A family member
- Someone you are living with or have lived with
How to apply for a non-molestation order
We can assist you in making an application to the family court for a non-molestation order. An application form is completed and a witness statement will be drafted on your behalf setting out the history of the case and the nature of the abuse that you are experiencing.
A copy of your application must be served on the respondent and the respondent may serve a statement in response if they wish to do so.
The application will then be heard by the court who will hear from both parties before deciding if an order should be made.
The court will list hearings for non-molestation orders as quickly as possible. The hearing will take place in private unless the court directs otherwise.
If your case is urgent, an emergency application can be made to the court. This is known as a “without notice” application. If the court deems it appropriate, they will make the order but then list the case at a later date when the respondent can give evidence. Where there is evidence of physical violence or the court believes that you are in danger, they will usually grant an order immediately to protect you.
How long to non-molestation orders last?
Non-molestation orders are usually made for a specified period of time but they can be made “until further notice”. If an order is made for a specified period of time, then the order can be renewed. There is no time limit on the length of time for which a non-molestation order can be made.