If you are in fear for your personal safety it is always wise to inform the police of the situation. They may tell you to obtain legal advice or to obtain an injunction from the court.
Angela Moores is a specialist in dealing with legal remedies for victims of domestic abuse and violence. Contact us for more information.
An injunction is an order of the court served on a third party instructing them not to do something (or in certain cases to do something) otherwise they will be in contempt of court and could be liable to immediate arrest or later imprisonment.
Usually injunctions deal with preventing one person contacting another person, or harassing or harming that other person. These are known as non molestation injunctions. In some cases they may extend to not telephoning, texting, emailing or coming within a certain distance of another person.
Not everyone is entitled to apply for an injunction so it is best to obtain legal advice before making any application. To apply for an injunction against a third party you must be “associated persons”. This means essentially that there must be some form of relationship between you as set out in the Family Law Act 1996 ie you cannot be total strangers.
The court will consider the circumstances of the case to see whether the injunction is necessary to secure a person’s health, safety and well being. If there has been a history already of violence then it is likely that the injunction will be granted. It is possible that an injunction will be granted even if there has not been any violence but legal advice should be taken.
When a person applying for an injunction has already been subjected to violence it is open to the court to apply a power of arrest to the injunction order. If a person breaches an injunction with a power of arrest attached he or she may be subject to immediate arrest without being taken before a court.
If no power of arrest is attached to a court injunction, then the person with the benefit of the injunction must apply to the court to commit the person who has breached the injunction to prison.
There are certain types of injunction which regulate who can occupy a property. These are known as occupation orders. The court has very strict criteria as to who may apply for such orders and in what circumstances. One of the main considerations is that a person may suffer significant harm if the occupation order is not made.
Sometimes these orders are accompanied by non molestation injunctions. Legal advice should be obtained before making application for such order.
If you are not in the associated persons category or do not satisfy the other requirements for an injunction, it may be that you have a remedy under the Protection from Harrassment Act 1997. You should obtain legal advice on your position. Contact us for more information.
The other option is to contact the police and seek assistance from them.