LEGAL EAGLE: Advice on seeking an injuction

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My partner and I split up a year ago and we have a young son together. Things were amicable but now I have started seeing someone new. My ex has turned up at my house and threatened to take my son off me. He keeps ringing me and telling me that he wants us to try again. Sometimes he sends nasty texts. The other day, he waited outside the office of my current partner and started shouting at him. I am really scared. The police have told me to seek an injunction – can you help me?

Often clients come to us seeking a Non-Molestation Order, also known as an injunction. A Non-Molestation Order provides an individual with the court’s protection. When deciding whether to grant an application for a Non-Molestation Order, the court shall have regard to all the circumstances of the case, including the need to secure the health, safety and well-being of the applicant or any relevant child. The court needs to be satisfied that the applicant requires immediate protection.

Over recent years the legal definition of domestic violence has developed and it is now widely recognised that this can include emotional, financial and sexual abuse as well as actual physical violence.

While all cases of domestic violence are serious, the nature of the perpetrator’s behaviour will determine whether a Non-Molestation Order is required or if the issue could be resolved by a warning letter. A warning letter informs the perpetrator that any repetition of the complained behaviour will increase the likelihood of court action. If they ignore the warning letter, the fact one was issued could assist in the pursuit of a Non-Molestation Order. A warning letter is not legally binding but it can deter the perpetrator from repeatedly contacting or threatening a client.

In cases with a recent incident or history of physical violence, a Non-Molestation Order should be pursued immediately. The safety of our clients is our paramount concern and we can help them take the steps to seek the courts protection. If a Non-Molestation Application is successful the Court will issue an Order which must be adhered to. Breaches of a Non-Molestation Order are enforced by the police in a criminal court and carry a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment.

If you think you may benefit from a warning letter or a Non-molestation Order please contact a member of our family team who will handle your case with tact and sensitivity.

l Ben Hoare Bell LLP has specialist Solicitors that can advise on issues such as domestic abuse. To speak to a Solicitor please ring 0191 565 3112 or email advice@benhoarebell.co.uk. For further information visit www.benhoarebell.co.uk.