Late last year, National Legal Service supported Abby* in applying for and securing a non-molestation order to protect herself against abuse from a former partner.
During the two-year relationship, Abby experienced consistent name calling from her partner. This behaviour later escalated into physical altercations, harassment, and intimidation tactics after the relationship ended.
Although Abby had reported her former partner’s behaviour to the police, the abuse continued with constant phone calls throughout the night. Abby’s abuser had also been found to sit outside her house, first watching her from his car before hammering on the door. This left Abby feeling frightened and worried for her personal safety, unsure of what he was capable of or what he would do to her.
The situation came to a head shortly before Christmas 2021, when Abby’s former partner made a serious threat via text message. Whilst worrying, this message formed solid proof of the abuse, and further measures could be taken to protect Abby’s safety. The police were able to make a referral to a support organisation, and a recommendation to obtain an ex-parte non-molestation order.
A non-molestation order prevents an abuser from causing either physical, emotional, or psychological harm to applicants and their families. Breaching the order – for example, by threatening, harassing, intimidating, or inflicting physical harm on the applicant – can result in the abuser being sentenced to up to five years in prison.
An ex-parte NMO is a ‘without notice’ order. This means that Abby was able to apply for protection without informing her former partner. This reduced the risk of the abuser’s behaviour becoming more dangerous during the application process.
Non-molestation orders are more likely to be granted swiftly and without delay if the application is comprehensive, including evidence, detailed descriptions of the abuse, and police records. We were able to advise Abby on what was needed and help her apply for the NMO.
Together, we worked to make an application for a non-molestation order to the court. This included completing a witness statement outlining the abuse Abby had received, and the reasons for applying for the order. The Family Court considered all statements and evidence, and the order was quickly granted and made final. The respondent was served with the NMO, leaving Abby safer and well protected.
Abby was eligible to receive public funding, which covered the costs of both the non-molestation order and the legal work needed to complete the application; meaning she was able to protect herself against the abuse she had been experiencing without struggling financially.
With the non-molestation order now in place, Abby feels much safer knowing that she is protected, and she is no longer living in constant fear of the respondent.