Chapter 4 Key facts checklists

Domestic violence

Domestic violence is not limited to physical abuse.

Non-molestation orders under the Family Law Act 1996 (FLA) prohibit a person from molesting a person they are associated with, or a relevant child. Breach of an order is a criminal offence but, if criminal proceedings are not taken, breach can be dealt with in the civil courts as a contempt of court.

Occupation orders regulate the occupation of property. Various categories of applicant can seek occupation orders. The orders they can obtain depend on whether they are married, whether they have an interest in the property, and other factors. Breach of an order is dealt with as a contempt of court.

• Non-molestation orders and occupation orders can be applied for on an ex parte basis (without notice to the respondent).

• In some circumstances it may be possible to accept an undertaking (a formal promise to the court) instead of making an order.

• If the parties are not associated persons protection may be available under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.