Domestic Abuse and Injunctive Orders
One in four women and one in six men will be affected by domestic abuse during their lives. Many do not know how to deal with this or where to turn for help. There are many charities out there who can provide support and guidance but often more serious action is required whether via the police or via solicitors.
Whilst the police have the ability to caution and make arrests sometimes they cannot always step in as you need them to. As family solicitors there are two types of orders that we can apply for to help people subject to domestic abuse.
If your ex-partner is abusing you and will not stop then you could seek a non-molestation order to prevent this behaviour. A non-molestation order prohibits a person associated with the applicant from molesting them or a relevant child. "Molestation" is not defined in law, but in practice, non-molestation orders are used to protect from violence, harassment and threats. The order can cover a wide range of behaviour. If you are at a very serious and immediate risk of harm then you can apply for the order initially on an urgent basis with no notice to the other party.
However if you need your ex-partner to leave your home and they will not do so then you can apply for an occupation order. An occupation order grants the right to occupy a property. The court can decide who should or should not reside in all or part of the home. Occupation orders can also exclude the other person from an area around the home. When in force, an order can also deal with practical matters such as who must pay the rent or mortgage.
Occupation orders are very serious orders and the Court does not make them lightly and it is very hard to get them on an urgent basis. The Court must consider a ‘balance of harm’ test where the court has a duty to balance the harm that would be caused to the parties and any relevant children, if the occupation order was or was not made. The Court will consider what options everyone has for alternative housing within this.
If you are suffering from domestic abuse such as controlling and coercive behaviour, harassment or physical violence then you should seek support and take advice at the earliest opportunity. Sometimes Court proceedings can be avoided.