As well as any action the Police might take, there are two types of Court Order which are designed to protect the victims of domestic violence:
- Non-Molestation Orders
- Occupation orders
These Orders can prohibit a wide range of unacceptable behaviour including violence, harassment and threatening or abusive behaviour.
Occupation Orders can be used to remove an abuser from the home and give a right to the victim to remain in or return to the home.
Who can apply?
You must be “associated” with the abuser. An “associated” person is someone:
- You are or have been married to
- You have agreed to marry
- You live with or have lived with (not as a lodger or tenant)
- You are related to
- You have a child with
- Who is the other party in any family proceedings
In relation to Occupation Orders you must also show that you are legally entitled to occupy the home. Usually, this means that you must have some financial interest in the property or if you are or were married, that you have Matrimonial Homes Rights.
The Court will look at all the circumstances, including the need to secure the health, well-being and safety of the applicant or any children. In relation to Occupation Orders, the Court will also consider whether the victim or any children might be at risk of significant harm if the order is not made.
I am frightened that my abuser will find out that I am applying to Court
It is possible to make an application to the Court without the other party being aware. This is called a “without notice” application. This type of application can be made when there is a need for urgent protection and any delay might endanger the applicant or child.
What happens if my abuser ignores the Court Order?
If the abuser breaches the Order then he or she is likely to be in contempt of Court and they may face imprisonment. Very often the Police have the power to arrest someone in breach of an Order.
It is also a criminal offence to breach a Non-Molestation Order. The penalty for anyone found guilty is up to five years’ imprisonment.
To discuss your family law matter with a specialist please either telephone us or complete our online enquiry form. Alternatively please contact a member of our client care team who will be pleased to assist you.