Restraining orders UK
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Please note: We are a solicitor firm with offices in Manchester and Blackburn, United Kingdom, and can only assist in family law matters to those living in England and Wales.
What are restraining orders?
Restraining orders are court orders issued to an offender at the end of their criminal sentencing process. Their main purpose is to protect their victim, and they are regularly used in cases of domestic abuse.
The term ‘restraining order’ is often misused. In the UK a restraining order can only be issued as part of criminal proceedings. It cannot be ‘applied for’, without taking the person to court for their actions against you first.
What is included in a restraining order?
The terms of a restraining order will differ in each case as they are tailored to the victim’s specific circumstances.
Restraining orders generally stop an offender from behaving in a certain way, such as contacting the victim or acting in a threatening manner.
How are restraining orders different from injunctions?
Restraining orders are often confused with injunctions, which are other court orders commonly sought by domestic abuse victims.
There are two main types of injunctions set out in the Family Law Act 1996. These are:
- Non-molestation orders
- Occupation orders
It’s important that you know which order you are applying for and why. We can advise you on exactly what your legal entitlements are.
Our team of family law solicitors are committed to helping victims of domestic abuse reclaim their freedom. We can provide confidential, accurate advice on the process of obtaining a restraining order, a non-molestation order or an occupation order.
How to file a restraining order
Because restraining orders can only be pursued if the offender has been a part of criminal proceedings, you first need to report their criminal offences to the police and file criminal charges.
When the criminal proceedings are finished the judge will decide on the terms of the restraining order, including how long it will be in force.
We understand that the idea of speaking to the police about what has happened may be terrifying. Reporting such a personal assault is often a big, emotional step to take. But it is a step in the right direction.
During sentencing the judge will decide whether or not to impose a restraining order. We can guide you through the entire process, and advise you on what to do in every eventuality.
Collecting evidence to use in court
You should keep a record of everything, starting with the police reports detailing every incident. Regardless of how the police handled your case, this helps to build evidence against the other person.
The more proof you have, the more likely it is that the restraining order will be granted. You should keep a copy of any evidence you can find confirming that your safety is at risk or has been violated in the past.
The kind of evidence you could present includes photographs of any injuries they’ve caused, witness statements and text messages or emails that display an abusive manner. However necessary, gathering evidence is an upsetting task with bad memories likely to resurface. Remember there is a lot of support to help you at every stage, not just from your solicitors.
The police, victim support and other groups are all available to help you find your way back to the safety and happiness you deserve.
What if my ex-partner is acquitted?
If your partner is acquitted, you don’t have to worry. The courts are still able to grant you a restraining order if they think it’s appropriate. Even if your abuser is found not guilty of the criminal charges filed against them.
It will be down to the judge to decide whether or not you and your family require further protection. The safety of any children will always be the court’s number one concern.
How we can help
Our team have had many years’ experience dealing with complicated family law cases, including those with issues of domestic abuse.
We understand the difficulties faced by victims and have witnessed first-hand the detrimental impact abuse can have on families. Nothing is more important than your safety to us, and we want you to feel safe, confident and in control throughout.
We can help you at every stage, from gathering evidence against the offender, to representing you in court and negotiating on your behalf. If you are wondering how to get a restraining order, please do not hesitate to contact us today for sympathetic advice about your situation.