Legal Consequences of Non-Molestation Order Breaches

A wooden block house with a wooden figure outside, placed under glass symbolising a protective non-molestation order preventing the figure from approaching the house.

Domestic abuse is a distressing and all too common problem, affecting countless individuals in the UK. In response to this serious concern, non-molestation orders have been established to offer vital protection to victims. But what occurs when individuals disregard these court orders? In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the complex legal consequences that perpetrators face when they breach non-molestation orders. Understanding the gravity of these breaches and the legal avenues available to survivors is vital in making sure both safety and justice in such trying situations.

Understanding Non-Molestation Orders:

Before we explore the legal repercussions of violating a non-molestation order, it’s essential to grasp the nature and purpose of these orders. Non-molestation orders serve as vital legal instruments aimed at shielding individuals, frequently victims of domestic violence, from harassment, threats, and additional harm. Family courts issue these orders, constituting a fundamental component of the legal structure for safeguarding vulnerable individuals.

The Purpose of Non-Molestation Orders:


Their primary function is to protect individuals, often victims of domestic violence, from harassment, violence, or intimidation by another party. These orders create a legal barrier, stopping the alleged abuser from contacting or harassing the protected person.


Non-molestation orders aim to stop any unwanted or harmful behavior. They aim prevent actions such as physical violence, verbal abuse, or even indirect forms of harassment, like sending threatening messages or stalking.

Legal Recourse

By obtaining a non-molestation order, victims of domestic abuse can seek legal recourse if the order is breached. This legal framework empowers individuals to take action against their abusers and report violations.

The Seriousness of Breaching a Non-Molestation Order:

Breaching a non-molestation order is a serious matter that the legal system treats with utmost gravity. These orders serve to safeguard individuals who might be facing immediate danger, typically in cases of domestic violence. When an individual breaches a non-molestation order, they not only disregard the authority of the court but also put the safety and well-being of the protected person at risk.

Criminal Offence

Breaching a non-molestation order is a criminal offence. This entails the possibility of initiating criminal court proceedings, where the individual responsible for the order breach might encounter substantial repercussions. This aspect of non-molestation order breaches is crucial to understand; it means that the breach is not solely a civil matter, but it carries potential criminal charges.

The gravity of this offense becomes evident when considering the array of sentencing choices available in criminal courts for individuals found guilty of non-molestation order breaches. These choices aim to address the breach adequately while safeguarding the protected person.

Potential Consequences

The potential consequences of breaching a non-molestation order in criminal court can be severe. These consequences are in place to deter individuals from violating such orders and to protect the rights and safety of those who have sought protection through the legal system.

Sentencing Options in Criminal Courts:

When a person gets convicted of violating a non-molestation order in criminal court, the court has various sentencing options available. These choices aim to tackle the breach’s seriousness and guarantee the safety of the protected individual. The specific penalties imposed can vary depending on the circumstances of each case.

Maximum Sentence

The most severe penalty for breaching a non-molestation order in criminal court is a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison. This substantial prison term shows the gravity of the offence and serves as a strong deterrent to potential offenders.

Financial Penalties

In addition to prison time, the court may impose financial penalties in the form of fines. These fines aim to make the offender answer for their actions and could involve substantial sums, varying based on the gravity of the breach.

Criminal Record

Being found guilty of breaching a non-molestation order can result in the creation of a criminal record. This record can have long lasting effects for the individual, touching various aspects of their life, including work opportunities and travel restrictions.

Restraining Orders

Criminal courts can also issue restraining orders as part of the sentencing process. These orders ban the offender from making any contact with the protected person or approaching them within a certain distance. Violation of a restraining order can lead to further criminal charges and consequences.

Reporting to the Police:

If you or someone you know has been the victim of a non-molestation order breach, it’s important to report the matter to the police quickly. The police take these breaches seriously and will investigate the situation thoroughly.

Contact the Police

If you believe the non-molestation order has been violated, contact your local police immediately. Provide them with all important details, including the order’s terms and the circumstances of the breach.

Police Investigation

The police will start an investigation into the breach. This may involve collecting evidence, talking to witnesses, and speaking to the alleged offender.

Possible Arrest

If the police have enough evidence, they may arrest the person responsible for the breach. The offender may be taken into custody, pending further proceedings.

Time Sensitivity

It’s important to act quickly when a non-molestation order is breached. Delays in reporting or seeking legal assistance can impact how effective legal remedies are on your overall safety. Remember that your well being is of the utmost importance.

Seeking Remedies in Family Court:

In addition to pursuing criminal proceedings against the offender, victims of non-molestation order breaches can also seek remedies in Family Court. The Family Court has jurisdiction over matters related to family law, including issues arising from non-molestation orders. Here, we’ll explore the process and potential consequences of returning to Family Court to address a breach.

What is the Family Court?

The Family Court is a specialised court within the legal system that deals only with family law matters. It handles a wide range of cases, including divorce, child custody, and domestic violence issues. The Family Court typically issues a non-molestation order. Therefore, it is the appropriate forum for looking into breaches of such orders.

Returning to Family Court

If you have a non-molestation order in place and the person subject to the order breaches it, you can return to Family Court to seek further intervention. Here’s a look at the process:

Contact a Solicitor: It is wise to seek legal assistance from a solicitor experienced in family law matters. They can guide you through the process and represent your interests in court.

Document the Breach: Keep a record of the breach in detail, including dates, times, locations, and any evidence, such as text messages, emails, or witnesses. This documentation will be crucial when showing your case in Family Court.

File an Application: Your solicitor will help you prepare and file an application with the Family Court, showing the breach and the harm it has caused. The court will schedule a hearing to address the matter.

Potential Outcomes

When you return to Family Court due to a non-molestation order breach, several outcomes are possible:

Arrest of the Offender: The court may issue a warrant for the arrest of the person who breached the order. This can result in them been held in custody, pending the court hearing.

Punishment: The court may impose sanctions if they find the breach is serious and on purpose, such as fines or community service.

Additional Protections: The court may modify the existing non-molestation order to include additional protections for you and any children involved. This could involve extending the order’s duration or expanding the banned distance.

Counseling or Rehabilitation: In some cases, the court may order the offender to attend counseling or rehabilitation programs to address their behavior and prevent future breaches.

Limited Sentencing Powers

It’s important to note that while the Family Court can take action to protect you and address breaches, its sentencing powers are more limited than those of criminal courts. The Family Court focuses on giving remedies and protections within the context of family law.

However, in cases of severe breaches or significant threats, authorities may refer the matter to criminal courts, which can then impose more serious consequences, including prison time.

Returning to Family Court can provide important protections and remedies for victims of non-molestation order breaches. Collaborating with a family law solicitor ensures effective presentation of your case, enhancing the chances of a positive outcome.


In conclusion, non-molestation orders play a vital role in safeguarding survivors of domestic abuse. When these orders are violated, legal recourse is available through both criminal and family courts. Criminal courts can impose significant penalties, including prison time and fines. Family courts mainly focus on survivor protection. Seeking legal assistance from a solicitor is highly advisable in these situations. Understanding the legal consequences of non-molestation order breaches is important for survivor safety and justice.


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