What is a Non Molestation Order?

Posted on: 8 mins read
Last updated:
Lorraine Harvey

Partner, Family Law

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In England and Wales, a Non Molestation Order, also known as an injunction, prohibits a person (the respondent) from molesting the person applying for an Order (the applicant) or a related child.

Non Molestation Orders are used to protect the person applying for the Order from the respondent’s behaviour. Non Molestation Orders are often used to protect victims of domestic violence, but this is not their only purpose.

Examples of ‘molestation’ are:

  • Acts or threats of violence
  • Use of abusive language
  • Stalking
  • Abusive messaging e.g. text messaging or Facebook messages

 

For initial advice about filing for a Non Molestation Order, get in touch with our Family Law Solicitors.

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Non Molestation Order vs Occupation Order?

There are two types of injunctions that you can apply for, which are called a Non Molestation Order or an Occupation Order. These are two completely different Orders, so you must be sure that you are applying for the correct one.

A Non Molestation Order is designed to protect you or your child whereas an Occupation Order will decide on who is able to live within a family home or come within a specified distance from the area.

 

Who Can Apply for a Non Molestation Order?

If you have been the victim of abuse, you can apply for a Non Molestation Order. To make this application, you must be able to show that you are ‘associated with the respondent’, under the Family Law Act of 1996. This effectively means that the applicant and respondent must be or have been in a relationship, live together or have lived together, or be related to one another.

If you are suffering from abuse and you would like to apply for an Order, our experts can help you. For a free no-obligation consultation, give us a call today to discuss how we can help.

 

Applying for a Non Molestation Order

For the purposes of a Non Molestation Order, a relative is defined as any of the following:

  • Parent or step parent
  • Child or stepchild
  • Grandparent or grandchild
  • Spouse or former spouse
  • Civil partner or former civil partner
  • Sibling
  • Uncle or aunt
  • Niece or nephew
  • First cousin

If you were previously engaged to the respondent, you will need to provide evidence when you submit your application. Evidence can be an engagement ring or an eyewitness who can testify that you were engaged. Before filing your application, we will help recover all the appropriate evidence that will strengthen your case.

If you are over the age of 18, then you can apply for a Non Molestation Order yourself. But if you are under the age of 16, you will need to gain permission from the High Court to complete your application.

A related child is one that the respondent is the parent of, or has Parental Responsibility for. The Court will consider all of the circumstances and decide whether it’s necessary for them to grant a Non Molestation Order. The Court will primarily consider the health, safety and wellbeing of the applicant, in both physical and mental terms.

An applicant must be able to demonstrate to the Court that protection is required. In cases where physical violence is the alleged reason for the Order, it’s advisable that any incidents are reported to the police so that they can investigate the offence and a clear record is made.

This is important as the respondent can be prosecuted under the criminal law in the first instance and the police have the evidence on their records, should it be required for the purpose of the Non Molestation Order proceedings.

An application for a Non Molestation Order can be made without the respondent having to be made aware of it until after the Order has been granted. This is relevant where the applicant is in immediate danger or to notify the respondent of the Order would place the applicant at risk of physical harm.

Applications can be dealt with on paper, meaning that there is no need for either the respondent or applicant to go to Court. If a hearing is necessary, then the hearing will be held in private in Judge’s chambers.

Typical examples of the conditions that the Court can grant in a Non Molestation Order include prohibiting the respondent from:

  • Using or threatening any violence towards the applicant
  • Coming within 100m of the applicant’s home
  • Sending any abusive letters, texts or other communications to the applicant
  • Communicating with the applicant in any way except through a Solicitor
  • Threatening or using abusive language towards the applicant

To apply for a Non Molestation Order you must complete a ‘FL401’ form. You will also need to provide a supporting witness statement (FL401T), along with any other supporting documents that are required.

There are a number of ways to submit your application, which include:

  • Online
  • Post
  • In-person at your local Family Court

We understand that completing these types of forms can be overwhelming, so we are here to help. Our team can offer initial advice or support you throughout the entire process. In whatever capacity you need our expert help, we are here to guide you. Please get in touch with our team to discuss your circumstances, and we will help you to file your application.

 

Applying for an Emergency Order

If you feel that you need protection immediately, then you can complete a ‘without notice’ application. This order has been created to protect you or your child from any harm while you are waiting for the Court proceedings to decide on the overall outcome.

When you submit an Emergency Order, the respondent does not need to be notified. Once the Court receives your emergency application, there will be a hearing that you must attend.

Your Emergency Order will remain in place until after your hearing, where the Court decides on the outcome.

If you feel that you need an Emergency Order, this is something we can help you obtain. When we discuss your circumstances during your initial consultation, we will determine whether this is appropriate and put steps in place to achieve this Order for you.

 

Notifying the Respondent

Once you have completed your application and the Court has received it, the respondent will receive a copy. This is referred to as ‘serving the application’.

But you may request that the respondent is not served the application, which means that they are not made aware of the application. If the Court later does grant the Non Molestation Order at the final hearing, the respondent will then be notified.

It is important to note here that you must never serve the application to the person you’re filing it against yourself. We can help with this, and we will serve the application to them on your behalf. Simply reach out to our legal team to get things moving in the right direction.

 

The Hearing

Once there is a date for the Hearing, all parties must attend. It’s important for you to have legal representation at the Hearing, so our solicitors can attend with you to make sure you get the outcome that you deserve.

If it is considered that you will need protection at the hearing, you may be allowed to have the hearing via video call or phone call. You will need to request this specifically when you apply, otherwise special adjustments may not be made.

You also have the right to request not to be spoken to by the respondent or be questioned by them. If you feel that this is necessary, then you can apply for this separately.

The hearing will end in a decision being made by the Court. The Court may request more information from you to help your case, in which case you may be given an ‘interim order’, or the Court may decide to issue an order straightaway.

If the Court issues an order, you will be given a copy of the order, which will outline everything that the respondent must either do or not do, and how long the order will last for. It is your responsibility to make sure that the respondent receives a copy of this order in person. For instance, our solicitors can arrange this for you, or you can ask the Court to do this on your behalf by completing a D89 form.

 

What to Do if You Have a Complaint

If you are not happy with the outcome of your hearing, you can make a complaint, which we can help you with. We will help you prepare a complaint directly to the Court where you had your hearing. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to appeal the decision with the help of our solicitors.

If you would like to go ahead with a complaint, we will help support you throughout the entire process. Our expert solicitors can assist you with the appeal, so you can focus on re-building your life. We understand that appeals can be very stressful, so we will do our upmost to remove as much of this as possible.

 

How Long Does a Non Molestation Order Last?

A Non Molestation Order is typically made until further Order of the Court and the length of it is reviewed at the return hearing. Where the Court orders the Non Molestation Order to remain in force, it usually remains for a period of between 6-12 months.

If you would like to extend the Non Molestation Order, this is certainly possible, but you must apply for this before the Order ends. If you leave it too late and your Order ends, you will then be required to apply for a new Non Molestation Order, where you must provide all the evidence again.

Once you have applied for an extension, you will usually be notified about the hearing within 3 weeks. It is not always necessary for you to attend the Court hearing for an extension, but you can if you wish to. If you decide not to attend the hearing, then you will receive the outcome either via email or post.

 

If you've faced domestic abuse, you might consider getting a non-molestation order to keep you and your family safe from more harm.

The legal experts at Simpson Millar can assist you in swiftly obtaining this protection. We'll work in your best interests to make sure you're secure.

We've supported many people like you, and our solicitors will work carefully to provide the support you require.

Our Family Law Solicitors can help you to apply for a Non Molestation Order today.

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References:

Legislation.gov.uk. (2020). Family Law Act 1996. [online] Available at: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1996/27/contents.

NCDV (2020). Non-Molestation Order for Domestic Violence · NCDV. [online] NCDV. Available at: https://www.ncdv.org.uk/non-molestation-order/.

GOV.UK. (n.d.). Get an injunction if you’ve been the victim of domestic violence. [online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/injunction-domestic-violence.

GOV.UK. (n.d.). Get an injunction if you’ve been the victim of domestic violence. [online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/injunction-domestic-violence.

Lorraine Harvey

Partner, Family Law

Areas of Expertise:
Family Law

Lorraine is a Partner at Simpson Millar, specialising in Family Law for over 20 years.

She handles middle to high net value cases, including pension claims and complex trust, and also advises on pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements.

Lorraine has unrivalled knowledge of public sector pensions, in particular police pensions, having advised police officers on pension claims for two decades.

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