Family Services

Children, Civil Partnership, Co-Habitation, Divorce and Separation, Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence can take many forms, for example the use or threat of physical force - however it extends beyond physical assaults to include any form of physical, sexual or psychological molestation or harassment. It is, therefore, necessary to protect people against non-violent harassment or molestation, such as persistent pestering, intimidation, denigration, nuisance telephone calls, damage to property, etc.

Protection available under the Family Law Act 1996:

  • Non-Molestation Orders prohibit a person from using violence, threatening to use violence, harassing, intimidating or otherwise interfering with another person
  • Occupation Orders deal with the family home and enable the Court, where appropriate, to allow the Applicant to return to the family home and/or exclude the Respondent. The Court may also exclude a person from a defined area around the family home
  • Undertakings are a promise by the Respondent to the Court not to molest or harass the Applicant and/or to leave the family home, or to allow the Applicant to return to that property. By giving an undertaking, the Respondent does not make any admission that he/she has behaved in the manner complained of by the Applicant.

Who can apply?

  • Non-Molestation Orders: spouses, former spouses, co-habitants, former co-habitants, relatives and same-sex cohabiting couples
  • Occupation Order: as above save for relatives, who cannot apply.

Protection from Harassment Act 1997

The protection outlined above is not available to all victims of domestic violence. In particular, it would not provide protection in cases where the Applicant has no domestic family relationship with the Respondent. In these cases, the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 can provide protection and this act makes it both a criminal and civil offence to harass another person. Under the act, the Court can make a Restraining Order against someone convicted of harassment and can also fine and/or imprison such a person. In cases where it is likely that the Applicant will have to fund this action privately, it is extremely important that they discuss this matter with the local Police before seeking legal advice (to see what steps the Police can take first).

Our understanding team of family experts includes:

  • members of Resolution
  • members of The Law Society Family Panel
  • a trained collaborative lawyer.

New clients receive 30 minutes free initial advice and the first appointment available within 24 hours (where possible).

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