Domestic violence means any violence or threat of violence that takes place in or outside the home between family, household members or partners in existing or previous relationships. It can include mental, emotional, financial, physical and sexual violence. This includes harassment, for example persistent letters, text messages or emails and psychological or mental abuse.
An injunction is a type of court order which forbids an abuser from doing certain things. If the abuser disobeys the order, he can be punished by being fined or sent to prison. There are two kinds of injunction available under the Family Law Act 1996 – non-molestation orders and occupation orders.
A victim can only apply for these types of orders if they are associated to their abuser. They are only associated to the abuser if they:
- Are or were married in a civil partnership
- Are or were living together as a couple (including same sex relationships)
- Are or were engaged to be married or agreed to enter into a civil partnership
- Are or were living in the same household (this includes flat mates)
- Are related (this includes half-blood and step relationships, people who would be in-laws if you were married or in a civil partnership and now includes first cousins)
- Are parents of the same child or involved in the same family court case
- Are or were involved in the same family court case
- Are or were involved in an intimate relationship of significant duration
A non-molestation order will protect you from violence or harassment.
The abuser does not have to have been physically abusive towards the victim. The non-molestation order can:
- Forbid the abuser from being violent towards the victim or any children in their family
- From threatening violence or from harassing, pestering or intimidating the victim in many different ways
- Stop him/her from coming within a certain distance of their home
- Forbid him/her from damaging or disposing of their belongings
A non-molestation order can still be applied for even if the victim still wants to remain in the same household. An occupation order deals with who lives in their home. A non-molestation order will protect you from violence or harassment. It can:
- Order the abuser to move out of the home or to stay away from the home
- Order him/her to stay a certain distance away from the home
- Order him/her to stay in certain parts of the home
- Order him/her to allow the victim back into the home if he/she has locked them out
- Order him/her to pay the mortgage, rent or bills for the home
- Order him/her not to damage or destroy the home
The type of occupation order they can apply for depends on whether the victim or the abuser are legally entitled to occupy the property and on the type of relationship they have.
You can apply for an injunction if you have been the victim of domestic violence. The court order will either protect you or your child from being harmed or threatened by the person who has abused you (non-molestation order) OR it will decide who can live in the family home and enter the surrounding area (occupation order).
AH Page Solicitors are able to offer services for people suffering from domestic violence and abuse. If our clients are not granted legal aid, we will assist as best as we can and may give advice free of charge.