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Non-Molestation Orders

Non-Molestation Orders can be applied for under the Family Law Act 1996. Non-Molestation Orders are a type of protective order which can be granted by the court to people who have been subjected to inappropriate, harassing, intimidating, controlling, threatening or violent behaviour by someone to whom they are connected; for example, by having been in a relationship with that person or by being related to them. A Non-Molestation Order can prohibit the other party from acting in various ways including subjecting a person to any abusive, harassing, pestering or violent behaviour, damaging or threatening to damage a person’s property, contacting a person, or posting derogatory comments about someone on social media. A Non-Molestation Order can also forbid the respondent from asking or encouraging anyone else to do what s/he is prohibited from doing.

What are the Grounds for a Non-Molestation Order?

To be granted a Non-Molestation Order by the court a person needs to demonstrate that they have been subjected to inappropriate behaviour by the other party. This can include verbal abuse, threats of violence and acts of violence but can also include much more subtle, but nonetheless intimidating, methods of harassment and control, including controlling a person’s finances, tracking their movements, and isolating them from their family and friends.

Who Can Apply for a Non-Molestation Order?

In order to apply for a Non-Molestation Order, the respondent must be an associated person. Associated persons include:

  • A partner or former partner
  • Someone with whom the applicant has had an intimate relationship with
  • Some relatives including mother, father, siblings, adult children

Non-Molestation Order Family Law Act 1996

Unfortunately, there is no guarantee for a successful non-molestation application, which is why the application should be properly prepared to maximise the chances of successfully being granted an order. All applications should be accompanied by a detailed statement concisely setting out the history of the matter, the types of behaviour that the respondent has subjected the applicant to, and the reasons the application is being sought.

The court will also consider when the last incident occurred and will usually only grant a Non-Molestation Order if it has been applied for very soon after the most recent incident. The court will also usually expect the applicant to have reported matters to the police before submitting an application.

How does a Non-Molestation Order get served?

Many Non-Molestation Orders are granted without the involvement or knowledge of the respondent. Such orders will not be binding or effective until they have been “served” on the respondent. This can be done by way of a third-party process server, which Affordable Justice can help to arrange.

Is a Non-Molestation Order an Injunction? 

Yes, non-molestation orders are otherwise known as injunctions that are made by the family court. The term injunction is also often used to refer to an Occupation Order.

What Happens if the Respondent Breaches the Non-Molestation Order?

In the case that the respondent breaches the order in the absence of a reasonable justification, this should be dealt with as a criminal offence. Therefore, all breaches of a Non-Molestation Order should be immediately reported to the Police. As a result, the accused may be arrested, charged, and punished by the court. If the accused is found guilty, the punishment ranges from a fine to five years of custody. 

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