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How bad does behaviour have to be in order to obtain a non-molestation order?

Obtaining a non-molestation order does not have a high threshold.

The current definition of domestic violence now reads:

Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. This can encompass but is not limited to the following types of abuse:

  • psychological
  • physical
  • sexual
  • financial
  • emotional

Controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their every day behaviour.

Coercive behaviour is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish or frighten their victim.

Molestation implies some quite deliberate conduct which is aimed at a high degree of harassment of the other partner so as to justify the intervention of the Court.

The Court has authority to make either (or both) a non-molestation order or an occupation order without notice. However, it requires exceptional circumstances to deprive a respondent of their home on such a basis.

If you would like any further information or advice with regard to the above, please contact Caroline Penfold, or 020 7227 7448 or Carina Smith, or 020 7227 6716.

© RadcliffesLeBrasseur
March 2015


This briefing is for guidance purposes only. RadcliffesLeBrasseur LLP accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken or not taken in relation to this note and recommends that appropriate legal advice be taken having regard to a client's own particular circumstances.