What is the difference between Non-Molestation Orders and Restraining Orders?

If you're experiencing domestic abuse from a current or past partner, family member, or someone you share a home with, a Non-Molestation Order can safeguard you. This civil court order prohibits the abuser (the respondent) from contacting you or coming near your home. Breaching the order leads to arrest. A family solicitor can help you apply.

Rubina Vohra
Rubina Vohra

Published: June 5th, 2019

3 mins read

Sometimes people find themselves in a situation where they feel they need protection from a certain person. You are usually able to apply for a Non-Molestation Order if you are a victim of domestic abuse and the person you want to be protected from is a "connected person". A connected person could be someone you are having, or have had a relationship with, a family member, or someone you are living or have lived with.

The Non-Molestation Order meaning is that the connected person must abide to the specific terms within the order or risk being arrested and changed for breaching the conditions. This lasts for the duration of the Non-Molestation Order.

This application would be made to the Family Court and the Court would decide whether a Non-Molestation Order should be granted based on the facts presented. Non-Molestation Orders can also be used to protect children from domestic abuse. It can often prevent the person named from making contact with the person who needs protection and coming within a certain distance of that person's home, or any other conditions that a Judge may find appropriate. The person named in the Order, "the Respondent" can be arrested if they breach any of the conditions. The person named in the Order must also be served with a copy of the Order; this is usually done by your solicitor. A common length of time for the Order to last is 12 months; however, this is at the Court's discretion.

Restraining Orders are different to Non-Molestation Orders, they are most commonly used when there have been criminal proceedings against a person. They can be obtained when someone is a victim of a crime and they require protection from harassment or fear of violence by the perpetrator for a specified period or until a further Order is made. They can be granted by the Criminal Court alongside a conviction for the crime, or if the person is acquitted of that crime, the prosecution will often make a case that the victim is still in need of a Restraining Order for their protection. These Orders are granted under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. If these Orders are breached, the person named will be guilty of a criminal offence.

A family solicitor will only be able to assist with obtaining the former, a Non-Molestation Order.

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