In UK family law injunctions are referred to as “non-molestation orders” or “occupation orders”. It provides the victim of abuse some legal protection from their abuser.
What does injunction mean?
An Injunction, in family law, is when the Courts provide an order that creates a condition for someone you are associated with to either do or not do something. As mentioned, under Part 4 of the Family Law Act 1996, there are two types of injunctions:
- Non molestation order – the purpose of this order is to protect you and/or your child’s health, safety and wellbeing.
- An occupation order – this order specifies who can live in the family home, it can also result in your abuser being in breach of the law if they enter an area nearby.
What happens if the order is breached?
Both types of Orders are given by the Court and are therefore legally enforceable.
If you have a non-molestation order again an abuser and they breach this they will be committing a criminal offence and as a result you can contact the police who will be able to get involved in the matter. You can also take your abuser back to the civil Court for breaching the order.
In the event of an occupation order being breached, the person in breach, the offender, could be arrested.
Can I apply for an injunction, am I eligible?
In order to apply for an injunction you have to be an “associated person” to your abuser, meaning you have to be linked with one and other in at least one of the ways listed:
- You are/were married to each other
- You are/were in a civil partnership
- You are/were engaged to be married
- You have children together
- You are/were in an “intimate relationship of significant duration”
- You are blood related
- You live with or use to live with each other
- You are both involved in the same “family proceedings”, example, divorce or custody.
Regardless of gender or sexual orientation, people who live together are able to apply for occupation orders and non-molestation orders, this is under the Domestic Violence Crime and Victims Act 2004 which amended the Family Law Act 1996 to include same sex couples.
I don’t think I’m eligible to apply for an injunction, what can I do?
Don’t worry, even if you don’t apply to any of the given criteria the UK law can still protect you, however it will not be done under the Family Law Act 1996 or the Domestic Violence Crime and Victims Act 2004. If someone is persistently harassing, pestering, stalking or threatening you after your relationship with them has ended then you may be able to apply for a civil injunction, also known as a restraining order, this is done under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.
How long will my injunction last?
Usually injunctions are valid for a specified period of time but you are able to apply for a renewal. It is possible, however, to apply to request the injunction period is “until further notice” which, effectively, means the injunction period indefinite
If you abuser has a legal right to stay in the home then an occupation order cannot be extended longer than 12 months. However there is no limit on the length of time in which you can extend a non-molestation order.
I want to apply for an injunction, what do I do?
You will have to attend Court with only those that are directly involved in your case in attendance, this is known as a “Closed” Court, in order to apply for an injunction.
If you required further help, advice, guidance or support then contact us today, our experienced solicitors can assess you options and ensure you obtain the protection you need.