1. My partner has been domestically violent towards me, I require protection what are my options?
Where a person requires protection from domestic violence we are able to apply for a non-molestation order. These orders prevent the perpetrator from using or threatening violence against the applicant (and if applicable children) or intimidating, harassing or pestering the applicant. This is to ensure that the health, safety and well-being of the applicant and any children are prioritised. A breach of a Non-Molestation Order is an arrestable offence and now carries a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment.
These applications can be made on an emergency basis without notice to the perpetrator. It requires an application and statement to be prepared and attendance at a short hearing. The perpetrator would not be present at this hearing and if the judge believes immediate protection is required orders will be made and served upon the perpetrator immediately thereafter.
If orders are made on an emergency basis a further hearing will be listed shortly after the initial hearing. The perpetrator will be ordered to attend this hearing to provide his or her viewpoint on matters in order for the court to decide whether protection orders should continue.
In some cases where the domestic violence is denied and the perpetrator is looking for dismissal of orders a final hearing will be listed which will require both sides to give evidence, following which judgment will be given.