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Throughout this week, our Abuse and Family teams have being supporting Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week. As the week comes to a close, our Family team explains how we can obtain urgent protection for victims being subjected to Domestic Violence by applying for a Non-Molestation Order.

The statutory definition of a Non-Molestation Order is found in Section 42(1) of the Family Law Act (FLA) 1996 which states that it is a provision prohibiting a person from molesting another person (and a relevant chid) associated with the Respondent. The purpose of a Non-Molestation Order is to deter a Respondent from perpetrating further abuse, as breach of such an Order is a criminal offence. Section 62(3) FLA stipulates who is considered to be an associated person, and includes (but is not limited to) spouses, civil partners, relatives and those in an intimate personal relationship of a significant duration.

The term ‘molesting’ is wide-ranging, meaning that a Non-Molestation Order can prohibit a Respondent from perpetrating various kinds of abuse. A victim of sexual abuse and sexual violence should therefore obtain a Non-Molestation Order as soon as possible against a perpetrator to prevent them from subjecting a victim to further abuse. Once in place, a Non-Molestation Order is normally enforceable for a period of 12 months.

Non-Molestation Orders are often obtained without notice (ex-parte), meaning the Respondent is not aware that the Order has been applied for until it has been granted by the Court. The purpose of this is to protect the victim from being subjected to further abuse in the event that the perpetrator finds out about the Order, as well as to prevent the perpetrator from deterring the victim from making an application.

With 1.6 million people aged between 16 and 74 estimated to have experienced sexual abuse, it is important that victims are aware of the protection that can be put in place to prevent further abuse being perpetrated. At Ramsdens, we ensure that Non-Molestation Orders are applied for at the earliest possible opportunity. This is done by completing the relevant application form and lodging a detailed statement setting out the history of the relationship and domestic abuse, including the most recent incident.Our experienced team are able to guide victims through the process and advise on the funding options available, such as Legal Aid.

Call our family helpline on 08000 147 720 or send us an email to book a free information session.