According to figures recently published by the Family Court Statistics Quarterly in September 2019 there was an increasing amount of applications being made for Non-Molestation Orders. In April to June 2019 there were over 5,800 applications made for Non-Molestation Orders, up 12% compared to the same period one year ago.
What is a Non-Molestation Order?
A Non-Molestation Order is an injunction which is available under Part IV of the Family Law Act 1996; the injunction aims to safeguard you from the individual who is subjecting you to abuse. The order prohibits them from being violent or threatening towards you. It also prevents them from acting in a way which is harassing, intimidating or pestering towards you.
This isn’t limited to personal conduct as it also covers other forms of communication such as text, phone calls, letter, email and social media or even encouraging or instructing another person to do any of the things listed above.
How can it protect me?
If the injunction is breached by the person who has subjected you to abuse it is classed as a criminal offence and therefore they can be arrested and imprisoned for up to five years. If the order is granted it will be sent to your local police force, so if it is breached they can act swiftly and decisively.
Can I apply for a Non-Molestation Order?
To have the right to apply for a non-molestation order you must fall within the category of an ‘associated person’. In other words you must be associated with the individual who is abusing you by any of below listed ways:
- Currently married/in a civil partnership or formally married/in a civil partnership
- Currently engaged/agreed to enter a civil partnership or have been previously
- Currently cohabiting or have cohabited previously
- Currently living together or have lived together previously
- You are related
- Currently or previously had an intimate relationship which has lasted for a significant duration of time
- Currently parties to Family Court proceedings
- You have a child together or share parental responsibility for a child
When will the Non-Molestation Order be in force?
If the order is granted it is only live once it has been served on the individual who you have sought it against. This is because the individual has to be made aware of the order which has been made against them and until they are aware they cannot breach it as they are not aware of the injunction’s conditions.
Can I apply for a Non-Molestation Order without the other party present?
The short answer is yes you can. You can apply for the order on what is called a ‘Without Notice’ basis, in other words the individual who is subjecting you to abuse will not know you have applied for the order until they are served with it if it is granted. This is only where the circumstances are urgent and there is a threat to your safety or that of children.
Please be aware that a further hearing may be listed where the other side can have an opportunity to file their own evidence to support their case if they wish to contest the order.
How long do they last?
Typically non-molestation orders are granted on a fixed term basis lasting from 6 months to a year or until a further order is made. However, you can apply to have it extended.
Is Legal Aid available?
Here at Dodds Solicitors Legal Aid is available and a member of our team can assess you during your first appointment and inform you on the day if you are eligible for Legal Aid.
If you do not wish to be assessed for Legal Aid or are not eligible we do offer competitive private rates.
How can I apply for a Non-Molestation Order?
If you are thinking of applying for a non-molestation order please contact the Private Family Department on 0116 262 8596. Here at Dodds Solicitors our experienced and dedicated team of solicitors will strive to help you achieve the protection you seek.