Domestic violence is:

“Threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between persons who are, or have been, intimate partners, family members or members of the same household, regardless of gender or sexuality”

This definition of domestic abuse is of equal application to married couples, co-habitants or civil partners.

Legal protection from domestic abuse, domestic violence, molestation and harassment

Applications to the court for protection from domestic abuse can be made by both adults and children.

An “associated person” can seek the protection of the law from domestic abuse and this requirement of an associated person covers almost all those living in almost any family or domestic living arrangement.

Those seeking protection from domestic abuse can apply to the court for a non-molestation injunction which prevents the respondent (the person against whom the order is sought) from molesting another person who is associated with the respondent or from molesting a relevant child.

Molestation is widely defined in accordance with the definition contained above.

An application can also be made to the court for an occupation order which regulates the occupation of the family home to protect those remaining in the family home.

Even in situations where the person seeking protection from domestic abuse does not fall within the definition of an “associated person” there is protection available under the Protection from Harassment Act which creates a criminal offence of harassment where the person concerned is engaged in a course of conduct (at least two occasions) designed to harass another and which he or she knows or ought to know amounts to harassment of another. Harassment includes “alarming the person or causing them distress”.

It is essential that anyone seeking protection from domestic abuse obtains the advice of an experienced and specialist solicitor to obtain the protection they deserve. We all have the right to live without the fear of violence or harassment.