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What is a Non-Molestation Order?
The order is used to prevent threats, harassment, and violence.
If you are a victim of domestic abuse you can apply to the court for a Non-Molestation Order.
This order is intended to protect you or a relevant child(ren) from being harassed, pestered, intimidated or from facing any threat of such behaviour. An application can be made ex-parte (in an emergency situation without the offender being aware) or inter parte (where the offender will be given notice of a court hearing).
There is no court fee for a non molestation order / occupation order, however you may be required to pay a fee for the summons to be served.
You may also qualify for an Occupation Order. This order sets out terms by which the offender will be restricted from entering or residing in the home, and must leave upon service of the order on him/her.
The victim applying is the applicant and the accused is the respondent. This order protects the victim and relevant children from being molested by the respondent.
What are examples of molestation?
There is no definition for the word molestation in the Family Homes and Domestic Violence (Northern Ireland) Order 1998
Examples of behaviours that have been accepted as forms of molestiation in previous cases:
- acts/threats of violence.
- searching through a phone/bag without permission.
- sending nude photographs of an individual to a third party
Who can apply for Non-Molestation Orders?
To apply for a Non-Molestation Order, you must be an Associated Person. Examples of Associated Persons:
- Individuals who are or were cohabiting.
- Those who intend to get married, or were or are married, or civil partners.
- Those who live or have lived in the same house in a familial relationship.
- Those who are related to you (i.e. parents, stepparents, grandparents, former spouse, etc).
- Those who have or have had an intimate relationship for a significant period.
Note: if you are under 16, you will need the court’s permission to make the application. This is to confirm to the court that you have sufficient understanding.
What does the Court consider for a Non-Molestation Order?
There is no guarantee that a non-molestation application will be successful. To avoid rejection, the application should be prepared carefully.
The court will consider all the circumstances. This includes securing the health, well-being, and safety of the victim and any relevant children. It is important that you draft your witness statement carefully, and the focus should be on the details and effects of the accused’s behaviour. For your application to be successful, you must need protection and there must be supporting evidence.
The court will decide on the balance of probabilities as to whether injunctive action is necessary to control the accused’s conduct.
What can the Court order for Non-Molestation Orders?
The court can put restrictions on the accused, prohibiting them from certain conduct. This includes forbidding them from using or threatening violence, communicating with the victim or from attending a specific property or area. Normally, they also prohibit the accused from instructing or encouraging third parties from this conduct.
What is the form to apply for a Non-Molestation Order?
If you intend to apply to the court for a non molestation or occupation order, either ex-parte or inter-parte, you should complete Form F1, Form F2 and provide a brief written statement of evidence and lodge these with the court office.
What are Non-Molestation Order undertakings?
In most cases, this order can be a good deterrent for the accused. However, the court can accept an undertaking (legally binding promise) that the conduct will not occur. This would not normally be accepted in cases where there is high-risk of domestic abuse or there have been breaches of previous orders.
What happens if the Respondent (‘Accused’) breaches the Non-Molestation order?
The respondent must be aware of the order and be personally served. If the respondent (without a valid defence) breaches the non-molestation order, they are committing a criminal offence.
The applicant can contact the police to ask for help, as the breach is an arrestable offence. The accused can be arrested, charged and punished by the court and the defences for breaches are limited.
Non-Molestation Order – ‘Breach’ by the Applicant (‘Victim’)
This may seem peculiar as the order is against the respondent. There can be situations where the applicant contacts the respondent.
It is important that the respondent does not breach the order or coerce the applicant in any way, even when the Applicant makes contact.
The breach of a non-molestation order is a criminal offence so the respondent should seek independent legal advice. They should act in a way that protects them from a criminal record.