A Non-Molestation Order is a protective injunction which prevents unwanted contact from (most commonly) an ex-partner or family member. This unwanted contact can include things such as messages via text, messaging app, or social media, phone calls, appearances at the victim’s home or work address, and physical abuse amongst other things.
Supporting you through your court case
To be eligible for Non-Molestation Order, the victim (also known as the applicant) must have been in a romantic or intimate relationship with the perpetrator (also known as the respondent) for a period of at least six months, they could also share a child, or can be blood related. In a recent update to how Non-Molestation Orders work, they can now be sought against step-family and family by marriage (in-laws.)
A Non-Molestation Order is applied for through the Family Courts, and as such has a different ‘burden of proof’ than the Criminal Courts would require. This means that the Judge or Magistrates who are hearing the case must only be satisfied that what the applicant is alleging is correct ‘on the balance of probabilities’ i.e. it is the most likely explanation of events.
These injunctions typically last for between six to twelve months, but they are able to be renewed if the respondent in the proceedings is still perceived as being a threat to the applicant.
A Non-Molestation Order is applied for using a form FL401, and a written statement about what has happened and why you feel you need the protection of a Court injunction. There are two different ‘pathways’ in which you can use to submit your application to your local Family Court, one is ‘on notice’ which is the standard way of applying; it means that the court will send a copy of your application to the respondent, and you will both be invited to attend court on the same day, and the respondent will be given a chance to respond to your statement. In cases with a severe risk of harm it is sometimes better to make what is called an ‘ex parte’ application; this means that you apply to the court and have a hearing with a judge first who can, if you meet the threshold, give you an injunction before the respondent is notified. The injunction and a return court date is then served upon the respondent, to give them a chance to respond but offering the applicant protection during this process. An ex-parte application will need more court hearings than one applied for standardly for this reason.
Non-Molestation Order applications can be heard in person, or most commonly remotely via telephone call or Cloud Video Platform (CVP) due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.