The breakdown of a relationship is often accompanied by emotions running high. Abusive and sometimes violent behaviour sometimes occurs.
The courts are able to intervene rapidly – and where appropriate without giving prior notice to the perpetrator to provide protective injunctions.
Certain categories of individuals may apply. This includes spouses (and former spouses), co-habitees (and former co-habitees) and individuals who have lived in the same household/enjoyed an “intimate” relationship with one another.
The court has the ability to make two principal classes of Order:-
- A non-molestation injunction which restrains abusive, harassing and violent behaviour.
- An occupation Order – which regulates rights of occupation of a family home.
In determining whether to grant an Order the court must take into account all the circumstances of the case including the parties conduct, the parties respective housing needs and resources and their financial position.
Once in place an injunction must be served upon the other party and can be enforced either by criminal prosecution (non-molestation Order) or by an Application back to the court which granted the injunction to “commit” the offender to prison (non-molestation and occupation Orders).
On an application to commit, the Applicant must prove to the criminal stand of proof (beyond all reasonable doubt) that the injunction has been broken. If satisfied that there has been a breach, the court has a range of remedies including enhancing the injunctee’s protection, ordering imprisonment (immediate or suspended) or imposing financial penalties.