WE HAD never heard of a non-molestation order before so I am sure many of you would not have heard of it either.
From the family-solicitors website, this is how they describe a non-molestation order
Non-molestation orders are civil court orders which aim to protect the victims of domestic violence from being abused, to stop the abuser from being violent towards the victims, either physically or by threatening and intimidating. It is a type of injunction made under The Family Law Act 1996 to protect named individuals from abuse.
The term “molestation” is not specifically defined but may include violence, threats and harassment.
A non molestation order carries the power of arrest and the penalty for breaking the order can carry a sentence of up to five years in prison
From the .gov website on who can apply for a non-molestation order…
Who can apply: non-molestation order
You can usually apply if you’re a victim of domestic violence and the person you want to be protected from (‘the respondent’) is:
- someone you’re having or have had a relationship with
- a family member
- someone you’re living or have lived with
These are usually time limited (often for a maximum of 12 months).
Now, not everyone who is looking at a special guardianship order needs to necessarily obtain one of these – many children are placed with family members where relationships are strong between the parties and communication can be maintained.
Due to events prior to the interim care order where H was initially placed with us and actions whilst he was with us under the ICO by the birth mother, we had no choice but to apply for one of these orders. The hearing for this order was included in the final court proceedings which determined where H would be placed.
My niece and my wife have had a hostile relationship for many years. My niece resented my wife. I am 11 years older than my niece. I had often received abusive messages from her due to my involvement with the older children prior to H being born. When H was placed with us we had to obtain an exclusion order for our road.
Once H was placed with us under the Interim care order we received numerous messages every day. Over a 4 week period we received over 250 messages and phone calls.
A few of the other things (not an exclusive list) that led to the request for the non molestation order included
- Birth mother presenting at our home after making threats to kidnap
- Birth mother taking an overdose on our doorstep whilst 5 children were in the house
- Birth mother watching our house from a side road (not in breach of exclusion order)
- Direct threats of physical violence
- Indirect threats of physical violence towards us and our property
- Further threats to kidnap child
Not only did we need to protect HER baby, we needed to protect our two children, each other and our home.
We have tried to protect our children throughout the whole process. One of the consistent conversations with our social worker was the need for there to be minimal impact and exposure to my niece’s behaviour for our two children, alongwith the baby too.
NON MOLESTATION GRANTED
We were granted the non molestation order . The solicitor representing us was unable to attend on the day of the hearing so we were given a Barrister. He managed to put forward a previous court outcome where someone was granted an open-ended non-molestation order – so not limited to 12 months. He argued that our situation would warrant a longer term and the extenuating circumstances were similar to the test case. To our surprise the court agreed!
It also included an extended exclusion order so she was not able to enter an area around where we live.
BREACHES OF NON MOLESTATION
As in the excerpt above, a breach of the non molestation is an arrestable offence with a potential prison sentence. A police officer can not choose to not arrest if a non-mol breach has taken place.
Every breach has to be reported to the police or it can effect future allegations and prosecutions. Every breach is investigated by the police and statements and witness statements are taken. The accused is then interviewed by the police. All evidence and statements is then sent to the courts.
In the early months of it being in place we had 3 breaches and proceedings were brought against her. At the time, she lived with my parents.
My niece living at my parents had already caused some difficulties in our wider family (3 of my parent’s children now had my niece’s children in their care) and us reporting the breaches drove a major wedge between me and my father in particular. Not to mention difficulties between me and my sister, the mother of my niece… It was a really tough time for me as you can probably imagine.
The non molestation order included
No direct or indirect contact with us by any medium (in person, written, verbal or via social media)
Not using other people to contact us on her behalf directly or indirectly.
So, that is a little bit about non-molestation orders. Our social worker informed us about these and they arranged legal advice for us to decide whether it was needed.