Everyone has a right to live without fear in their own homes. You may be in a relationship where you have suffered and endured through violence from your partner. At White Horse Solicitors & Notary Public, we understand the very delicate situation you may be and in and we know that dealing with a violent partner can be very difficult. Our practical and sensitive approach to your case will put you at ease. We will be with you through this very traumatic experience regardless of the outcome.
Rest assured that any information you will give us surrounding the issue will be treated with confidence. We can make a range of orders to stop the person causing violence from entering your property; and we can make arrangements (if you wish) with professionals who can offer guidance and support.
We understand that our clients want a speedy resolution to their affairs, and this is more so with domestic violence cases. Be at ease, knowing that our family lawyers are very experienced in dealing with similar situations over the years. With the knowledge and skill we possess, a speedy resolution with the best results is our goal for you.
With years of experience under their belts, our specialist solicitors will guide you through these difficult periods. By explaining the step by step process with care and attention to detail; our lawyers are the perfect professionals for you.
The Courts do offer protection in the form of Non-Molestation Orders and Occupation Orders so that victims need not live in fear of more violence or threats – particularly as it is a criminal offence to breach an Injunction.
Injunctions are there to offer you protection from your abuser. They are court orders that require someone to do (or not do) something in particular. The two main injunction types available under Part IV of the Family Law Act 1996 are:
Under recent changes to the law, breaching a non-molestation order is now a criminal offence and a Power of Arrest is automatically attached to the injunction, meaning 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 exact it should any breach arise.
In order to be able to apply for an injunction you must be an ‘associated person’. This means that you and your abuser must be associated with each other in one of the following ways:
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 or have been married to or living with a partner who is the owner or tenant.
In order to have a non-molestation order made against your abuser, you must apply to the Court with a sworn Statement to support your allegation of domestic violence. Your partner or former partner will be notified of the application and you both need to attend a Court hearing. Provision can be made for protection whilst at Court which is known as special measures.
If they admit the allegations against them (or fail to attend) then the appropriate Injunction Order is made, usually lasting six or 12 months – but this can be longer or ‘until further notice’ in some cases. Once expired, an application can be made to renew the Injunction Order if necessary.
If the Respondent denies the allegations or is not willing to leave the property, the case goes to a Contested Final Hearing where the Judge will decide whether to make the non-molestation or Occupation Order, or to dismiss the application altogether.
If there is a risk that notifying your partner or former partner of the application could induce more violence or intimidation, then it is possible to apply ‘ex-parte’ without notice. This means your abuser is unaware of the application until it is served on them – at which point it comes into effect.
Once this is in place, there then needs to be a Court hearing which you both attend so that the Judge can either make the appropriate Injunction or dismiss the application.
Domestic violence is intentional and persistent abusive behaviour which is based on an unequal position of power and control. Domestic violence can include a range of behaviours used by one person to control another with whom they have, or have had, a close or family relationship.
Domestic violence takes many forms, physical, psychological, economic, sexual and emotional and can often be a combination of several of these. It includes forms of violent and controlling behaviour such as: physical assault, sexual abuse, rape, threats and intimidation, harassment, humiliating and controlling behaviour, withholding of finances, economic manipulation, deprivation, isolation, belittling and constant unreasonable criticism. Domestic violence is one element in the overall issue of violence against women, which includes, among other crimes, murder, rape, sexual assault, trafficking, sexual stalking and sexual harassment.
Domestic violence often occurs over a period of time. Victims of domestic violence will experience a range of emotions, including fear, reluctance, uncertainty, worry and stress. Domestic violence can impact upon a person’s self esteem and confidence, all of which can make leaving an abusive relationship a daunting and frightening step.
A Non-Molestation Order aims to prevent your current or ex-partner from using violence against you or your children to ensure your health, safety and wellbeing. This also includes preventing intimidation, pestering or harassment.
An occupation Order is when the Court decides who should and should not live in the family home. This Order can also take the person out from the home and from an area around the home. Sections 33 and 35 to 38 of the Family Law Act 1996 contains the power to make an occupation order.
A Non-Molestation Order without notice can be used if notifying your partner or ex-partner about your application is likely to induce violence or intimidation. This way, they won’t be informed until the order is already in effect. This is also commonly called an ‘ex-parte’ Order.
A Non-Molestation Order hearing will only involve the applicant, the person subject to the order, the legal representatives of both parties and the judge. The judge will consider all statements and evidence before making a decision on whether to grant the order.
If you disagree with a Non-Molestation Order against you, it might be possible to challenge it in court. It’s recommended that you take expert legal advice if you wish to dispute a Non-Molestation Order and they can assist with the process.
Challenging a Non-Molestation order can be complex and early legal advice is always recommended. Disputing a Non-Molestation Order will require evidence to be gathered and presented to the Court, who will then decide if the order should remain in place or be lifted.
A Non-Molestation Order is usually granted for a period of six or 12 months initially and an extension to this can be applied for as long as the original order has not yet expired. If the order expires, a new application will need to be made.
The applicant can ask for a Non-Molestation Order to be extended before the current order expires, if they feel they require further legal protection. If the order has expired already, a new application will be needed.