Someone who is suffering from domestic abuse can apply for a civil injunction which is a court order requiring someone to do or not to do something.
The two main types available are non-molestation and occupation orders. A non-molestation order prevents a partner or ex-partner from using or threatening violence, intimidation, harassment or pestering. An occupation order can restrict a partner or ex-partner from entering a property as well as the surrounding area.
If somebody is in immediate danger, an application can be made to court on the same day without the abuser knowing about it which is called a ‘without notice’ or ex parte application. If the court grants the order ex parte, there will be a return court date listed once the abuser has been served with the notice. Once an order has been made, this will need to be served on the abuser by hand and the order will only be effective if there is evidence to prove service. Court staff should be informed if there is a risk that the abuser may harass the Applicant whilst they are waiting at court so that a separate room can be arranged.
A statement will need to be filed by the Applicant explaining the physical and emotional abuse that has been experienced. As much evidence and detail as possible is required such as police or medical reports. When deciding whether to make an order, the court will look at the whole picture to include both parties’ needs and financial resources as well as the needs of any children.
If the abuser breaks the terms of the injunction, the police should be called. If the non-molestation order was made after 1 July 2007 or if there is a power of arrest attached, the police should arrest the abuser and bring them back before the court within 24 hours. The abuser will be in breach of the order and they may be fined or given either a suspended or custodial sentence.
If you would like more information, speak to our Family Law Solicitor, Louisa Gothard on 020 7998 7777 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.