What is a Non Molestation Order?
In England and Wales, a Non Molestation Order 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
- Abusive messaging e.g. text messaging or Facebook messages
For initial advice get in touch with our Family Law Solicitors.
Applying for a Non Molestation Order
To apply for a Non Molestation Order, the applicant must be able to show that they are ‘associated with the respondent’. 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. For the purposes of a Non Molestation Order, a relative is defined as any of the following:
- Parent/step parent
- Spouse/former spouse
- Civil partner/former civil partner
- First cousin
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
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.
Our Family Law Solicitors can help you to apply for a Non Molestation Order.
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