If you are in a violent relationship with aspects of physical, emotional or mental abuse, you are entitled to seek a non-molestation order to keep your abuser away from you and your children.
Under the Family Law Act 1996 a non-molestation order is an order prohibiting a person (the respondent) from molesting another person who is associated with the respondent or a relevant child.
A respondent commits a criminal offence if they do anything prohibited by a non-molestation order without reasonable excuse.
If you are the victim of domestic abuse, harassment and/or intimidation you can apply for a non-molestation order against:
Non-molestation orders are granted by the court. To obtain a non-molestation order you should seek legal advice, not only to ensure you apply correctly but to protect your personal safety.
Applications can be made ‘on notice’ or ‘exparte’. If your application is made ‘on notice’ then your abuser will be aware that you are applying for a non-molestation order against them. If you feel this could lead to further abuse, your solicitor will make the order ‘ex-parte’ which means the respondent will not be aware of the proceedings.
The order will not take effect until it is served.
Yes, both you and the respondent will need to attend a hearing if you apply for a non-molestation order ‘on notice’. Only you will have to attend if you apply ‘ex-parte’. You may be represented by your solicitor who can argue your position for you. The hearing will take place in private chambers.
If the application is made ‘ex-parte’ then the court hearing will take place on the same day as the application is filed or the following day.
‘On-notice’ non-molestation orders take longer to work through the system.
Your solicitor will be able to advise you on timelines.
A non-molestation order will contain terms which are designed for your specific situation. If the respondent breaches these terms he or she can be arrested and charged. Breach of a non-molestation order carries a penalty of up to five years’ imprisonment; however, a custodial sentence is seldom handed down by the courts.
If you are in an abusive domestic situation you need to contact a solicitor immediately to organise an injunction against your abuser.
See also – Occupation Orders