How to obtain an injunction against a violent partner or ex-partner

Domestic violence impacts all areas of society, regardless of age, circumstances and social background.

Official statistics show 1.9 million people in the UK suffer domestic abuse – 1.3 million female (8.2 per cent of the adult population) and 600,000 male (four per cent). The seriousness of the situation for women in particular is underlined by figures revealing that seven females in England and Wales are killed every month by a current or former partner.

Removing a violent partner or ex-partner from your life takes courage, commitment and a conscientious legal team – but it can be done.

How legal action helps to end abuse

As a victim of domestic violence you can apply for what is known as a ‘non-molestation order’ to help protect you.

Non-molestation orders are granted to spouses, civil partners and cohabitees, whether you are still in the relationship or have ended it.

Certain relatives (including fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters aunts or uncles) can also apply. So too can non-cohabiting couples who have – or have had – an intimate personal relationship for a significant period.

If you are at significant risk of harm and need an order urgently, you can apply ‘without notice’. This means the perpetrator will not attend the initial hearing. A good legal team will do their utmost get you in court the same day you see them for an appointment. In less urgent situations, you can apply for a ‘on notice’ order which involves the abuser attending court.

What does the non-molestation order mean?

The order forbids threatening violence; causing damage to property; communicating by letter, phone, text, social media or any other means except through your legal team; harassing, pestering or molesting you; or coming within a set distance of your home.

The order can also forbid the perpetrator from instructing or encouraging any other person to do anything the perpetrator has been told not to do.

What about time-scales and penalties for breaching an order?

If you have applied for a ‘without notice’ order, the court will set a date – usually two weeks after the initial hearing – which will give the perpetrator an opportunity to defend his or her case.

Non-molestation orders are made for a specified period, usually six or 12 months, or ‘until further order’ which means that a time limit has not been set.

If someone breaches a non-molestation order they can be arrested and, if convicted, jailed for up to five years.

How to use an ‘occupation order’ to make your home safer

Another option for victims of domestic violence is an ‘occupation order’. This gives you a right to occupy the property you have lived in with your partner or ex-partner. The occupation order will set out who can live in the family home or enter the surrounding area and you can apply for one at the same time as a non-molestation order.

You have a right to occupy the property if: you are the sole or joint owner of the property; have matrimonial home rights; have acquired a ‘beneficial interest’; or if you are a tenant.

For more information, please contact Carolyn Ford on 0161 761 4611 or email her at

Alternatively, please attend WHN’s free clinic at our Bacup office, held every Thursday afternoon from 1pm.