Non-Molestation Orders

Non-Molestation Orders

If you have faced domestic violence and have reported the matter to the police, or if you have been subjected to abuse, threats, or verbal harassment by your partner or ex-partner, you may be eligible to apply for a non-molestation order.

A photo of a solicitor handling a non-molestation order case.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

A Non-Molestation Order is a legal measure designed to protect individuals and their children from abuse or harassment by a partner or ex-partner. This order prohibits the abuser from engaging in or threatening abusive behaviour, as well as harassment or pestering. It aims to safeguard the victims’ and their families’ health, safety, and well-being. The order may include restrictions such as prohibiting the abuser from coming within a certain distance of the victim’s property. 

Typically, the respondent (the person against whom the order is made) has no information on the order’s application until they are formally served with the order.

Domestic abuse, which this order addresses, encompasses a wide range of behaviours, including coercive control, psychological/emotional abuse, physical or sexual abuse, financial or economic abuse, harassment, stalking, and online or digital abuse. The law intentionally defines domestic abuse broadly to cover various forms of abusive behaviour.

Non-molestation orders generally last between six to twelve months, depending on the severity and duration of the abuse. A 12-month order may be issued in cases of long-term abuse, while a shorter duration might be applied in situations where the issue appears to be a one-off incident rather than a pattern of prolonged abuse.

If the Respondent (the perpetrator) breaches the terms of a Non-Molestation Order, several actions can be taken. This order includes a power of arrest, enabling immediate police intervention upon breach. In the event of a violation, you should immediately contact the police, who will have a copy of the order on record and can proceed to arrest the Respondent.

The consequences for breaching a Non-Molestation Order are serious. The Respondent may face criminal charges, leading to penalties that include up to 5 years imprisonment or a fine. The severity of the punishment is determined based on the gravity of the breach.

Yes, Non-Molestation Orders can be renewed or extended and are typically issued for a specified period. There is no fixed limit on how long an extension can last. The order can continue until a further order is issued.

However, when immediate protection is needed due to imminent danger, applying for an emergency non-molestation order without notice is possible. This provision is especially crucial for those requiring urgent safety measures.

An Occupation Order regulates who can live in the family home and under what conditions. The scope of the order varies depending on factors such as property ownership or rental agreements and the nature of the relationship between the parties involved (married, in a civil partnership, divorced, or cohabiting). Key aspects covered by Occupation Orders include:

  • The right to remain in the family home.
  • For instance, the ability to return to the family home if someone has been locked out.
  • Excluding an individual from the family home or a part of it, even if they have a legal right to reside there, especially in cases of violence or abuse.
  • Determining who is responsible for paying rent, mortgage, bills, and maintaining the property when the other party is absent.
  • Granting a specific timeframe for someone to stay in the family home, particularly to protect a person without legal entitlement from eviction, such as in cases where the property is rented from a local authority or housing association.
  • Designating separate living areas within the home for each party.
  • Protecting home rights following the death of a spouse or civil partner or in the event of a divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership.

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