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Partner or Perpetrator? The lowdown on Non-Molestation Orders

View profile for Nicola Deakin
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Domestic abuse can affect anyone, even the rich and famous – there are countless examples of celebrities, actors, rappers, musicians and sports stars arrested for domestic violence.

The widely publicised cases of Chris Brown, Mel Gibson, Charlie Sheen and Mickey Rourke (to name but a few) are known to many and we hear all about injunctions, restraining orders and non-molestation orders, but unless you’re a lawyer you might not know the differences and what they mean.

As part of our Partner or Perpetrator? Campaign, we’re aiming to demystify some of the legal jargon and answering some frequently asked questions.

What is a Non-Molestation Order?

A Non-Molestation Order is a type of injunction used to stop someone (‘the Respondent’) from:

  1. Using or threatening violence against another person (‘the Applicant’);
  2. Using or threatening violence to a child;
  3. Molesting a person in anyway.

A Non-Molestation Order can also be used to keep a person away from a particular place, for example, the area around the applicant’s home or workplace.

In order to apply for a Non-Molestation Order, the perpetrator needs to be an ‘associated persons’. Typically, these are people you are or have been in a relationship with, for example spouses, civil partners, cohabitees, relatives or anyone with whom you have shared an intimate personal relationship of a significant duration.

How can I get a Non-Molestation Order?

To obtain a Non-Molestation Order the applicant must submit an application to the Court along with a statement in support, outlining why the Order is necessary and including a chronology of incidents that have occurred.

The grounds for a non-molestation order can include, but are not limited to:

  • Actual or threatened violence
  • Harassment
  • Intimidation
  • Coercive Control and/or Behaviour
  • Threats
  • Stalking

What if I am at risk of immediate harm?

If an urgent Order is needed to protect the applicant from immediate harm, this can be done without the respondent knowing. This is known as a “without notice hearing” or “ex parte”. The urgent application can usually be heard the next day or sometimes on the same day.

If there is an urgent hearing and a Non-Molestation Order is granted, the Court will list a further hearing so the respondent has the opportunity to have their say. The respondent can ultimately accept the Order against them or contest the Order. If the respondent contests the Order a ‘trial’ hearing will be listed to hear evidence from both parties and review any further documentary evidence. The applicant will have the protection of the Non-Molestation Order up until the date of the ‘trial’.

How long does a Non-Molestation Order last for?

A Non-Molestation Order is usually made for six to twelve months, however it is possible that this length could be higher depending upon the circumstances and can be reapplied for if there have been breaches.

What happens if my ex breaches the Non-Molestation Order?

Whilst a Non-Molestation Order is not a criminal sanction, breaching a Non-Molestation Order is taken very seriously by the Court and can amount to a criminal offence, punishable with up to five years imprisonment.

Expert legal advice when you need it

Breaking the cycle of abuse is a process that can take time and whilst it can feel impossible for many victims to access support or escape the abuse, help and advice is always available.  

If you think you need a Non-Molestation Order or are concerned about domestic abuse, please call us on 01606 48777 to make an appointment with one of our Domestic Abuse specialist lawyers

Further confidential help is always available:

  • The National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline - 0808 2000 247- is staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
  • Refuge
  • Women’s Aid