Breach of Non-Molestation Order – What can be Done?
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It is unfortunate that many people find themselves in abusive relationships and face threatening violence on a regular basis. The nature of abuse or molestation covers a wide spectrum. It can include physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and financial abuse. When you are involved in an abusive relationship, you can find yourself constantly worrying about both your own safety and your children’s.
Nobody should have to endure these feelings. Therefore, if you feel as though you or your family are in danger, you can apply to the Courts for a Non-Molestation Order. Getting a Non-Molestation Order put in place can prevent the other person from causing any further harm.
Expert Family Law have a panel of family law solicitors with the experience and expertise required to assist you when applying for a Non-Molestation Order and can provide the legal support you need through such a difficult time. They can also assist in situations where there has been a breach of Non-Molestation Order.
What is a Non-Molestation Order?
A Non-Molestation Order is a type of injunction that can be applied for through the Family Court. Non-Molestation Orders are granted in order to prevent a current or former partner (or someone else) from causing you or your children harm. Forms of harm can include actual or the threat of physical or emotional abuse, any form of intimidation or harassment, as well as psychological abuse.
Non-molestation orders can also be served to other ‘associated persons’ that you have a relationship with. These orders can be applied against:
- A spouse or ex-spouse
- A fiancé or ex-fiancé
- A civil partner
- Someone who you live/lived with
- A family member
- The father or mother of your children
A Non-Molestation Order can run for a fixed period (typically 6-12 months), or it can last indefinitely. In general, a Non-Molestation Order will continue to run until it is cancelled by another Court Order.
How do I apply for a Non-Molestation Order?
When applying for a Non-Molestation Order, the victim of domestic abuse will be referred to as the ‘applicant’, and the person opposing the order is referred to as the ‘respondent’. The non-molestation order will prohibit the respondent from taking specific actions. These actions typically involve preventing the respondent from approaching the applicant in any way.
However, there is not one solution for all orders, which is why the terms of the order must be discussed and thoroughly explained in Court. Other conditions can be included in the order, such as the prohibited use of social media to contact the applicant in order to prevent cyber bullying or harassment.
An individual can apply for an order themselves by filling out an FL401 form. However, the form is extensive and can be difficult. Therefore, we highly recommend that you seek the legal advice of a family law solicitor when applying for a Non-Molestation Order, as they can offer guidance throughout the process and support you during such a difficult time.
All non-molestation cases will be heard in court and will only be attended by individuals who are directly associated with your case. This is unlike Criminal Court in which there is often members of the public in attendance.
During the hearing, the judge will consider all evidence and statements before they make a decision on whether to grant the order or not. In certain situations, the court may request some further evidence before they give a final decision.
Breach of Non-Molestation Order
Non-molestation orders are incredibly serious, and breaching the order is a criminal offence. If the respondent happens to breach the order in any way, it will be dealt with by the police. The police will attend the scene in order to assess whether a breach of Non-Molestation Order has taken place.
If the police believe that a breach has taken place, the respondent will be arrested or summoned to the Magistrates’ Court or the Crown Court to answer to the charge of breaching a non-molestation order. The process in which a breach of a Non-Molestation Order must be followed is set out in 42A of the Family Law Act 1996.
If it is determined that the order was breached, criminal proceedings will begin as a result. The Judge has the sentencing powers, and the maximum sentence that can be given is a 5-year custodial sentence.
The typical charge for a breach ranges from a fine to 4 years custody. When determining what sentence to pass, the Court will consider the harm caused by the breach and the culpability of the offender.
Culpability will be determined based on how persistent and serious a breach was, whilst harm will be judged by the level of harm and distress that was caused. Following this, the Court will consider aggravating and mitigating factors that are relevant to the offender’s personal circumstances. If the protective order has already been breached previously, this will be considered as an aggravating factor.
How can Expert Family Law’s panel of family law solicitors help?
Our panel of family law solicitors will ensure you get the best advice and will ensure you are made safe from your abuser as soon as possible. We can assist by obtaining a Non-Molestation Order or a Restraining Order, as well as assisting in divorce, child arrangements and ancillary relief.
We understand that being a victim of domestic violence can be extremely distressing. We ensure that the family law solicitors on our panel have the skills and experience required to assist on your legal case. We can assure you that your case will be dealt with in a compassionate and understanding manner.
Each solicitor we work with is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
Get in touch today using the form at the top of the page to find out if a family law solicitor from our panel could help on your case.
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