Non-Molestation Order / Domestic Abuse Protection OrderPepperells
Are you being subjected to domestic abuse or threats of violence? Perhaps you are being continually pestered and harassed? If you are an ‘associated person’ and there have been recent incidences of such behaviour, you could be eligible for legal protection in the form of a Non-Molestation Order or Domestic Abuse Protection Order?
Domestic Abuse Protection Orders
The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 has implemented new protective measures which are being rolled out across the Country beginning in early 2023, known as Domestic Abuse Protection Orders, (“DAPO”).
The victim, police or relevant third parties will be able to apply for a DAPN “Domestic Abuse Protection Notice” which lasts 48 hours to allow time for an application to be made to the Magistrates to apply for the DAPO. The DAPN provides immediate protection following an incident of domestic abuse. They can require the perpetrator to leave the family home, not contact the victim or limit where the preparator can go. The DAPOs usually last between 6-12 months. There are extenuating circumstances in which they can be made longer than 12 months. Breaches of DAPN and DAPO carry imprisonment up to 5 years, a fine or both. There may also be a requirement for electric monitoring of the perpetrator.
The Government are rolling the DAPN/DAPOs out across the country in 2023 however, there is not a clear understanding regarding when they will be implemented in specific areas. However, the Government want to ensure the DAPO is the “go to” protective Order within the coming years.
You would need to enquire with us whether the DAPO has been implemented in your area. However, if they have not then you have the option of applying for a Non-Molestation Order.
A non-molestation order is a type of legal injunction which prohibits a person from being able to pester, intimidate, harass or threaten the person who applies for the order. In certain circumstances, you can also apply for an order in respect of your child. A child can also apply for a non-molestation order in their own right, however, they will require permission of the court if they are under the age of 16.
Who is an “associated person”?
Below sets out a number of categories of people who categorise as “associated persons”
· Spouses or former spouses;
· Civil partners or former civil partners;
· Cohabitants or former cohabitants; and
If you are unsure whether you will fit into a relevant category, please contact us to discuss this further as there may be other protective orders available to you.
How long do they last?
Non-Molestation Orders usually last between 6-12 months. There are extenuating circumstances in which they can be made longer than 12 months. Breaches of a Non-Molestation Order, carry imprisonment up to 5 years, a fine or both. The severity of the breach would reflect the punishment.
What if the need for protection is urgent?
If you require protection as a matter of urgency, then an urgent application can be made on the same day that you see a solicitor with an emergency hearing to be listed that same day/next day.
Such applications can be made without notice to the respondent where the Court considers that it is just and reasonable to do so. If an order is made without notice to the respondent, the order will only become effective once it has been served upon the respondent. In the current climate, the court has adapted to alternative methods of service.
If the Court is minded to make an order at the without notice hearing, there will be a further “on notice” hearing – whereby the respondent is invited to attend, with or without their legal representative, will be given the opportunity to make representations.
It is possible for final orders to be made at this stage.
It is possible for this work to be undertaken under a Legal Aid certificate provided the eligibility criteria is met and the necessary evidence is provided.
Eligibility for legal aid will be assessed on a means and merits basis. In essence, you will be assessed based on your financial circumstances and whether the claim has merit for seeking a Non-Molestation Order.
If you are in need of legal protection then please do not hesitate to contact us today and we will be happy to assist.