What evidence is needed to apply for a non-molestation order?
Wed 3 January 2024
There is no single piece of evidence that guarantees being granted a Non-molestation order ("NMO") by the court. so it's important to build a strong case requires demonstrating a real and immediate risk of harm. Compelling evidence may be in the form of :-
- Witness statements: A detailed account of the incidents you experienced, with specific dates, times, and locations. Include descriptions of the behaviour, your emotional response, and any witnesses present.
- Police reports: records of any incidents reported to the police.
- Medical records: If you sustained injuries, provide medical records or doctor's notes as evidence of physical harm.
- Social media/electronic communication: Screenshots of harassing or threatening texts, emails, or social media messages can serve as powerful evidence.
- Photographs or recordings: If available, any visual or audio recordings of the incidents can be highly persuasive.
- Third-party evidence: Statements from neighbours, friends, or colleagues who support your claims can add weight to your case.
Your NMO application will be heard by a judge in a private family court hearing. Be prepared for the following:
- Attendance: Unless the application is extremely urgent and you are potentially in immediate risk of harm, both you and the respondent have the right to attend the hearing, though the respondent may choose not to be present.
- Legal representation: While having a lawyer isn't mandatory, legal advice can be invaluable in navigating the process and presenting your case effectively.
- Judge's assessment: The judge will consider all evidence presented before deciding whether to grant the Order or not, and if made its terms and duration.
- Terms of the Order: If granted, the Order will typically specify prohibited behaviors, geographic restrictions, and potential consequences for breach.
The Court's Approach
The court takes NMO applications seriously, prioritising the safety and well-being of the applicant. Judges assess each case based on the balance of probabilities:
- Is the applicant presenting genuine fear of harm?
- Does the evidence support a real and immediate risk of harm?
- Is an NMO the most appropriate course of action to protect the applicant?
The court also considers any history of violence or controlling behavior by the respondent and the potential impact of an NMO on both parties.