Court Protection from domestic violence; – Non-molestation orders and occupation orders.
There have been many recent reports in the press about the increase in domestic violence that has occurred as a result of the pandemic.
If you are a victim of domestic violence you can apply to the court for an “injunction” to protect you and your children. Such an order requires the abuser to do, or not do something in particular.
Under Part IV of the Family Law Act 1996 two main types of orders are available to protect victims of domestic violence-
- A Non-molestation order – preventing an abuser from being violent or threatening violence towards you or your children. It can prevent intimidation, harassment and pestering either in person or remotely by letter/telephone/email/or social media, so as to ensure the safety of you and your children.
- An occupation order – defines who is allowed to live in the family home and can prevent your abuser from being in the surrounding area. If you have left the family home as a result of violence, an occupation order can be sought to allow you to return without the abuser living there.
In order to apply for an injunction, you must be an “associated person” as defined by the Family Law Act 1996. This means that you and your abuser must be associated with each other in one of the following ways: –
- You are/have been married to each other.
- You are/have been in a civil partnership with each other.
- You are/ have been cohabitants (this includes same sex couples).
- You live/have lived in the same household
- You are relatives.
- You have formally agreed to marry each other (even if that is no longer the case).
- You have a child together (either parents of the same child or have parental responsibility for the same child).
- You are not living together but have/have had an “intimate relationship pf significant duration”
- You are both involved in the same proceedings (for example divorce or contact arrangements)
If you are seeking a non-molestation order or an occupation order, you will need to give details of the incident or incidents that have led you to the conclusion that an order is needed and the wording of the order will be specific to the situation. You will need to provide solid evidence as to the harm that would be suffered if an order were not made, particularly if you are asking the court to exclude someone from the family home. If you are applying for an occupation order, you must either have a legal right to occupy the home in question ( as a joint or sole tenant or owner), or you have to be/have been married or living with a partner who is the owner or tenant.
Our specialist solicitors can offer practical advice/help you to prepare your case and represent you in proceedings. We offer a free 30-minute consultation at which we can outline the options available to you. However, if you are in any immediate danger, you should contact the police immediately.