We take allegations of domestic violence seriously and whether these allegations are made against you or you are making them against someone else, we are able to provide expert advice to assist you.
WHAT IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?
Domestic violence can include one or more of the following:
- Physical violence and threats;
- Sexual violence;
- Emotional or psychological abuse;
- Harassment or controlling behaviour (including financial and indirect controlling behaviour;
Some forms of domestic violence are also criminal and should be reported to the police. People can also protect themselves by applying to the court for injunctions known as non-molestation orders and occupation orders.
A non-molestation order can be obtained to stop someone from using or threatening violence against them, or a child, or molesting a person in any way. Molestation includes such things as physical violence, intimidation, pestering, persistent abusive text messages or phone calls, threats or harassment. A non-molestation order can also keep someone away from a particular place such as the area around someone’s home or where they work.
Breaching a non-molestation order is a criminal offence punishable with up to five years imprisonment or as a contempt of court.
An occupation order is an order which regulates who will live at the family home. This type of order can either exclude someone from the property entirely, or can regulate the space in the property.
A ‘balance of harm’ test is applied when the court considers making an occupation order in that a Judge will decide whether more harm will be suffered by the person who is seeking the order, or any relevant children, if the order is not made than that which the other person would suffer if it is.
The court will also consider other factors including the housing needs of both parties, the financial resources of both parties’, the health, safety and welfare of the applicant and any children if the order is or is not made and the conduct of both parties.
Occupation orders are made as a temporary solution (usually for up to six months) to allow the parties to organise where they will live and how they will divide the property going forwards.
Sometimes the court will deem it safer to make an order immediately without the other person knowing that the application has been made. As soon as the order has been made, the court will set a date for a further hearing to give the other person a chance to defend themselves against the order which has been made against them.
WHO CAN APPLY?
Non-molestation and occupation orders are only available to a certain category of person known as an ‘associated person’. This includes friends, relatives and people living in the same household.