Survivors of domestic violence can apply to civil courts (family proceedings courts or county courts) for an injunction or court order to help protect them. The most common types of court orders are:

Non-Molestation Orders

This type of court order is used to stop someone from pestering, attacking, threatening or harassing you or your children.

Each order is unique and takes your individual circumstances into consideration.

The Magistrates will consider your health, safety and well-being, and any children involved.

They will also assess how they think an order will help the situation.

Civil courts need less proof than a criminal court, but they still need evidence of a deliberate incident affecting you or a child before imposing a court order.

This is where photographs of injuries or property damage can help, as they can form part of the case for an injunction, along with the statement, to show that there has been violence.

If you need an emergency non-molestation order, you can apply for it ‘without notice’.

This is helpful if you need immediate protection.

Emergency orders can be granted for 28 days – they then go back to court to give the abuser the opportunity to defend the allegations.

It is a criminal offence if the non-molestation order is broken  You can call the police to report this


Occupation Orders

Occupation orders state who can live in a property.

Similar to non-molestation orders, they are tailored to your individual circumstances.

The orders could say that the abuser must leave the property you live in.

Injunctions will state how long this applies for – some orders may be given until further notice if the court feels it’s necessary to protect you or your children.

Any of the following can apply for an occupation order:

  • Co-habitants or former co-habitants
    • this does not include tenants, lodgers or boarders
  • Married or formerly married people
  • Civil partners or former civil partners
  • Relatives
    • including step-parents & step-children
  • People who have agreed to be married or enter into a civil partnership
    • whether or not the agreement continues
  • Both parents of the same child or people who have or had a parental responsibility for a child

This also includes people who have stayed in an intimate personal relationship.


Prohibited Steps Order

A prohibited steps order is granted by a court when threats have been made by your partner to take your children from you.

It stops your partner from taking your child away from your care and control.

It does not necessarily stop all contact with the children, but will determine how contact can be safely maintained.