What have I been served with? What’s a Non-molestation Order? banner


What have I been served with? What’s a Non-molestation Order?

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By Angelique Holm

“I did not do anything wrong! Why do I have to go to court next week? Why have I been accused of such lies?”

Please do not panic. Save these questions for us. Help is on the way and we have great expertise on such matters.

Receipt of a Non-molestation Order (NMO), usually served by a Process Server can come as a shock if you did not expect such an order turning up at your doorstep.

When you receive an order, which lists a series of items you can or cannot do, usually the latter – you must seek advice or take heed in the meantime, or there may be severe repercussions.

So, what is a Non-molestation Order?

For the Applicant making the application

It is never too late to take action. It is abuse even if there has been no physical violence in the relationship. Abuse is abuse – and it comes in varying forms: emotional, financial, psychological, verbal, physical and sexual. Sometimes it even overlaps.

A lot of times clients come to us confused and not realising or even sometimes unwilling to accept they have been a victim of abuse until they reveal their horrific story to us. It takes a lot for a victim who might have been exposed to systematic abuse to come forward and say “I’ve had enough. No means no this time”. Or if the perpetrator has now extended his violence or manipulation to more vulnerable victims; the children. Every baby step taken over time to stand up against abuse is not insignificant. It takes courage to make an appointment to see a stranger, to ask this person to help you; to entrust your broken life in their hands – to seek protection for themselves or their loved ones.

I have more than 10 years of experience assisting domestic violence clients, and 9 out of 10 emerge feeling happier and empowered after leaving the relationship. I will not say it has been an easy or smooth journey, but I can say their lives and their children’s lives are so much better for it after taking action. It is a journey we promise to embark with you - to get you ashore to safety.  The other 10 percent or 1 out of 10 have either reconciled or retracted their application.

At OTS, we will listen and give you impartial advice with no pressure to instruct us. We believe you are entitled to be given the best advice in moving forward and in giving you back control over your life. We will simply advise and facilitate in the process – from drafting your Statements, the Schedule of Allegations and complying with court directions for i.e. police disclosure, GP reports, or liaising with third parties if matters proceed further.

For the person (Respondent) in receipt of this Order

The NMO is an injunction which prohibits you from being near or contacting the party (Applicant) because he or she has raised serious allegations of harm against you; to put in simply, for not speaking, treating, behaving or acting nicely towards them.

You must abide by this Order because any breach will see you in contempt of Court; with a Power of Arrest attached to the Order. It usually lasts for up to a year depending on the severity of the matter. You should have received a Statement in Support of this application outlining the series of events leading up to the Order, or if there is not one, do look at the Application itself to see these allegations. Obviously, it is not all doom and gloom, the court will permit the Respondent to have the opportunity to defend or admit to these allegations at the return hearing. This should be listed in the NMO itself.

At this point it is crucial to obtain some advice so you know where you stand within these injunctive proceedings as this will have an impact on whether this NMO will run for its duration or if it will be discharged, or if the parties have to have a finding of fact hearing if these allegations are disputed.   It is worthy to note this is a civil matter and not a criminal proceeding.

In the interim, before the fact finding hearing if there is one, it is vital to remember not to aggravate matters by contacting the Applicant directly or via third parties even if you feel you have been wronged – again this is a breach and can be held and reported against you. Abide and obey the order for what it’s worth or suffer the ramifications. When advised not to contact, this includes text messaging, emailing or lashing out via social media.  Please feel assured that the NMO being in place in the interim does not mean that the court believes in these allegations and will give the opportunity to hear both parties at the return date hearing and sometimes a fact finding.

The clock starts ticking the minute you receive the court papers or NMO. The Order will list a host of ‘do not do this’ and ‘do not do that’. Tempting fate is never wise, so instead of being upset and angered by the injunction and the Applicant, get in touch with a solicitor who will listen to your woes and act swiftly on your behalf. We are very good achieving positive results in such matters but still manage your expectations.

To discuss your injunction matter with a specialist, please feel free to call us on 0203 959 9123 or by using our contact form.

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