Today marks day six of 2021’s 16 days of action against Domestic Abuse. Anybody can be a victim; anybody can access help. The team at Ringrose Law are available to guide you through the process so please contact us.
Throughout the first lockdown between March and June 2020, the police recorded 259,324 offences flagged as domestic abuse-related. Given domestic violence is often a hidden crime not reported to the police, these figures are still extortionately high. It is, however, so important to know that if you are, or know someone, who is silently dealing with domestic violence that they seek urgent support.
From a legal perspective, the family courts can grant two types of remedy orders to prevent domestic violence.
The first is a non-molestation order, which can either prohibit particular behaviour or general molestation by someone who has previously been violent towards the applicant and/or any relevant children. This includes physical and sexual harm, controlling behaviour (for example being stopped seeing family or friends), mental and emotional harm, and financial control. A non-molestation order is the most common remedy for domestic violence, and can be made against any associated person. An ‘associated person’ is any family member, former spouses or cohabitees and current spouses and cohabitees.
On the court granting a non-molestation order, the police are immediately notified; any breach of the Order is a criminal offence.
The second option is an occupation order, which defines or regulates rights of occupation of the home by the parties involved. This particular order requires a balance of harm test to be applied by the court. The court would need to take note of all circumstances, and consider each factor specifically – whether the respondent has any other properties they could reside in, their health and their support network. A court would be reluctant to make such an order should the respondent to the application have nowhere else to go.
Both of these orders can be made ex-parte, or often known as ‘without notice’; which means the court will determine on receiving the application whether the respondent (who you are applying against) should be made aware of the application in advance. A court will usually approve such an application being made ex-parte if the applicant is at risk of further harm upon the respondent being made aware of the application.
If the police have been involved following an incident of domestic violence, the respondent may be subject to bail conditions. If the respondent is subject to bail conditions, particularly conditions excluding them from being within the locality of the applicant therefore providing ‘safety’ to the applicant, it is unlikely an application for a non-molestation would be successful. There are of course exceptions to this, however. For example, an applicant sought a non-molestation order against the respondent whose bail conditions preventing them from attending the family home, expired on a public bank holiday. Given no courts would be sitting on the bank holiday, and the risk of harm against the applicant upon the bail conditions expiring, the court was minded to not only approve the application, but make the order as sought by the applicant.
We can help
Depending on the applicant’s financial situation, Legal Aid may be available. If you wish to discuss your legal options, then call 01522 561029 or use the online chat or email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to speak to a member of the domestic abuse team.
Whatever your situation we can provide immediate support and advice to you.
We have vast experience in dealing with these matters, so please do not hesitate to contact us today for help.
Don’t be a victim contact us NOW on our 24hr helpline number 07739 748 675.
We can arrange to speak to you at a safe time to provide specialised advice.