What is a non-molestation order?
A non-molestation order is a court order made under the Family Law Act 1996. It is a type of injunction, so it forbids somebody from engaging in certain actions.
A non-molestation order can stop someone from:
- Threatening you with physical violence.
- Intimidating or harassing you.
- Visiting you at home/place of work.
- Being within a certain distance of the family home, your place of work, or children’s school.
If you have reported your abuser’s behaviour to the police, but they have not acted due to insufficient evidence, a non-molestation order can give them the power to act. Breaching a non-molestation order is a criminal offence.
Taking out a non-molestation order can also stop your abuser from encouraging others to engage in the same behaviour towards you.
How does the process for non-molestation orders work?
To apply for a non-molestation order, you need to fill in form FL401. Along with the form, you must include a detailed statement and any evidence supporting your application. Our solicitors can help you to draft a statement that clearly explains each incident that has happened, with dates and the details of any witnesses present.
While historical evidence can be used to demonstrate that abuse has taken place over time, it is important to show the court why you are making an application at this particular moment.
Supporting evidence may include:
- Emails, text messages and social media messages.
- Photographs of injuries.
- Photographs of damage to property.
- Reports from third parties such as your GP or a domestic violence counsellor.
Once the court has received your application, they will usually notify the respondent (the person you are making the allegations against) in person 2 days or more before they are required to attend a court hearing. In some circumstances, the respondent will not be informed – see below.
Both you and the respondent will need to attend a court hearing. Measures can be put in place to protect you throughout this process.
If the respondent admits to the allegations against them or fails to attend court, a non-molestation will be granted.
If the respondent denies the allegations against them, the case will go to a contested hearing. At the contested hearing, the judge will decide whether to grant a non-molestation order.