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Non-molestation orders & occupation orders

Non-molestation orders & occupation orders

There are two types of injunction that are commonly used to protect a victim of domestic abuse from their abuser – non-molestation orders and occupation orders.

Unfortunately, violence within the home is not uncommon. According to the Office for National Statistics, an estimated two million adults experienced domestic abuse in the last year (1.3m women, 695,000 men).

Physical violence is a criminal offence, yet prosecution under the criminal law in domestic violence cases can be lengthy and inadequate. However, there are civil remedies which may be more appropriate, particularly in the form of injunctions.

At Wells Burcombe, we have an expert team of family law solicitors, skilled in supporting victims of domestic violence, who can guide and support you through the process of applying for an injunction.

What are non-molestation orders?

Non-molestation orders prevent your partner, or former partner, from being violent or from threatening violence against you and any children. This includes the prevention of harassment, pestering and intimidation via letter, email, phone or social media, in order to ensure your safety, and that of your children.

What are occupation orders?

An occupation order defines who can live in the family home. Moreover, it can order your abuser to move out of the home or stay away from the home. Additionally, you can obtain an Occupation Order where you have already left the home due to the violent behaviour of your partner, or former partner, but wish to return to the home without the abuser being able to live there.

If you are married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting with someone, you have the right to apply for an occupation order against them. The order will also deal with who pays for the rent or mortgage on the property.

Who can apply for an injunction?

The person you apply for an order against is known as the Respondent, and you are known as the Applicant. To be able to apply for the above injunctions, you have to be an “associated person” of the Respondent. This means you have to be associated with each other in one of the following ways:

  • You are / have been married to, or in a civil partnership with, each other
  • You are / have been cohabitants
  • You live or have lived together in the same household in a family scenario
  • Although you are not living together, you have, or have had, an ‘intimate relationship of significant duration’.
  • In relation to a child, you are the parents of or have parental responsibility for the same child
  • You are relatives
  • You are both involved in the same family proceedings (eg divorce, child contact arrangements)
  • You have formally agreed to marry each other (even if no longer the case).

Can a child take out an injunction?

For a child to be able to apply, they need the Court’s permission if aged under 16. They must also live with, or be expected to live with either party, or be a child whose interests the Court considers relevant. In general, we see applications for children being brought under a global application for protection. However, there is nothing to stop them being brought in their own right.

What if the non-molestation order is breached?

Breaching a non-molestation order is now a criminal offence and a power of arrest is automatically attached to the injunction. This means your abuser can be arrested simply for breaching the injunction without needing to have committed any other criminal activity. The order is filed with the Police so they are aware of the power of arrest and can enforce it should any breach arise.

How can Wells Burcombe help?

Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone and causes emotional and physical harm. You will find helpful advice on how to recognise the signs and where to get help and support on the NHS website.

The Courts offer protection to those that need it by way of the above non-molestation and occupation orders. Our team of supportive and understanding lawyers at Wells Burcombe will support you through the application process. We have experience of making emergency applications to Court for injunctions in appropriate cases.

Contact us today for confidential advice and support by calling our offices in London (West Drayton) on 01895 449288, or in Hertfordshire (St Albans) on 01727 840900, or by email via our contact page.

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