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 the victim, and are regularly imposed in the context of domestic abuse.
The term ‘restraining order’ is often misused, as in the UK a restraining order can only be issued as part of criminal proceedings and cannot be ‘applied for’ without taking the person you are issuing against to court first for the criminal actions they have taken against you.
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.
The restraining order will prohibit an offender from behaving in a certain way, such as seeking contact with the victim or acting in what is considered to be a threatening manner.
The Difference Between Restraining Orders and 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, which 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 what your legal entitlements are in your specific circumstances.
Our team of family law solicitors are committed to helping victims of domestic abuse reclaim their freedom and can provide confidential, accurate advice on the process of obtaining a restraining order, non-molestation order or occupation order.
How to File a Restraining Order
In the UK, restraining orders may only be pursued if the offender has been a part of criminal proceedings.
This means you need to report the criminal offences to the police and file criminal charges against the offender.
At the end of the proceedings following the criminal charges you have filed 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 police about what happened to you can be terrifying, and we know that reporting such a personal assault is often a big and emotional step to take, even though it is a step in the right direction.
During sentencing the judge will decide whether or not it is necessary to impose a restraining order.
Collecting Evidence to use in Court
You should keep a record of the police reports detailing every incident, regardless of how the police handled your case, as this builds evidence against the offender.
The more proof you have against your ex-partner, 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 additionally include photographs of any injuries caused by the offender, witness statements or text messages exposing their malevolence.
However necessary, gathering such evidence is understandably a harrowing task with upsetting memories likely to resurface. Its a daunting process, but with the support of police, victim support and the right solicitors you will find your way back to the safety and happiness you deserve.
What if my Ex-Partner is Acquitted?
You will not have to worry about this as the courts are still able to grant you a restraining order if they see purpose in doing so, 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, with the safety of any children always being the court’s leading concern.
How we can Help You
Our team have had many years experience dealing with complicated family law cases including those where issues of domestic abuse were prevalent.
Our family law solicitors understand the difficulties faced by victims of domestic abuse.
They have witnessed first-hand the detrimental impact abuse can have on families, which is why safety is of paramount importance to us. We want you to feel assured, confident and in-control throughout the process while you are working with us.
We can help you gather and review evidence against the offender, represent you in court and negotiate with any other necessary parties on your behalf.
Please do not hesitate to contact us today for compassionate advice regarding your situation and your options for pursuing an injunction or restraining order.
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