Violence, Harassment or Threats: Non-molestation Order

A non-molestation order can protect you from violence, harassment or threats from a specified person.


Legal aid may be available if you need to apply for a non-molestation order.

You can apply for a non-molestation order to protect you from any ‘associated person’.

Associated persons can fall into any of these categories:

  • Someone to whom you are or have been married

  • Someone with whom you have or have had a civil partnership

  • Someone you have lived with as though you were married

  • Someone who has lived in the same household as you, except an employee, tenant, lodger or boarder

  • Certain relations

  • Someone to whom you are or have been engaged (if the engagement has been terminated, the application must be within three years of the termination)

  • Someone with whom you have had a personal intimate relationship for a significant amount of time

  • Someone who is the other parent of your child or who has parental responsibility for your child.

The first thing you’ll need to do is fill in the application form.

You can see and download a copy here:

There are notes to help you complete the form here:

The form asks you for:

  • Your own name, address and date of birth. If you do not wish to reveal any contact details, complete Form C8:

  • The name and address of the person you are seeking the order against.

  • If there are already family proceedings involving you and the other person, give the name of the court and the case numbers, if known, and the type of case (for example, an application for residence of a child).

  • If there are criminal proceedings and the other person was arrested and charged, give the name of the criminal court and case number if known and the date of the hearing or trial.

  • If you are applying for an occupation order, in which you are asking the court to consider changing a rental or mortgage agreement, a copy of the agreement may help the court.

You’ll also need to write out a ‘witness statement’ and attach it to the form. This is your chance to explain what has happened and why you need the occupation or non- molestation order. Sign and date your witness statement and write ‘I believe that the facts stated in this witness statement are true’ at the bottom.

Send 3 copies of your application with copies of the witness statement attached to your nearest court.

You can find your local court at:


The Court will arrange for a copy to be sent to your ex-partner and will ask them to write their own witness statement.

The court will get in touch with a date for the court hearing. If you’re worried about being in court with your ex-partner, you can ask to have the hearing in separate rooms.

In deciding whether to grant a non-molestation order and on what terms, the court will look at all the circumstances, including the need to secure the health, safety and well- being of the applicant and of any relevant child. The court will look at evidence of the violence or harassment, and whether the applicant or relevant child needs protection.

The court must believe that an order is required to control the respondent's behaviour and will weigh up the likely outcome with and without the order based on the evidence.


If you are subject to violence or harassment you can apply for an emergency order to be made.

The first thing you’ll need to do is fill in the application form. You can see and download a copy here:

There is a tick box on section 3 to mark if you would like to file this as an emergency case.

If you ask for an emergency order you will need to explain in your witness statement that your ex-partner is likely to:

  • deliberately avoid the occupation order

  • physically harm you or your children; or

  • stop you from applying if you wait longer.


To disobey a non-molestation order is a criminal offence under section 42A of the Family Law Act 1996. This provides that:

(1) A person who without reasonable excuse does anything that he is prohibited from doing by a non-molestation order is guilty of an offence;

(2) In the case of a non-molestation order made by virtue of section 45(1), a person can be guilty of an offence under this section only in respect of conduct engaged in at a time when he was aware of the existence of the order.

If the offence is so serious that it is decided that it will be tried before a jury, the maximum sentence is a term of imprisonment not exceeding five years. If the offence is tried in the magistrates court, the maximum sentence is 12 months imprisonment.

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