Throughout the Covid-19 outbreak the Government has imposed restrictions requiring people to stay in their homes and have limited social activity with others.

This increased isolation has heightened household tension and created further difficulties for those living with an abusive partner or family member.

Statistics published by the Ministry of Justice in December 2020 show an increase in the number of domestic violence remedy order applications between July and September in 2020. In total, 9,944 applications were made for a remedy order; a rise of 26% on the same period in 2019. Of this, applications for non-molestation orders saw a rise of 27% on last year and applications for occupation orders have risen by 22%.

The entity, UN Women, have described the increase in domestic abuse as a “shadow pandemic”. The UN Women have launched the Shadow Pandemic public awareness campaign which focuses on the global increase in domestic violence amid the Covid-19 health crisis. The campaign highlights the alarming upsurge in domestic violence and urges people to act to support others if they know or suspect someone is experiencing violence. If you are experiencing domestic abuse, there is support available.

One option to prevent domestic violence is to make an application for a non-molestation and/or occupation order through the Family courts.

A non-molestation order prohibits the use of violence or threat of violence including harassment or physical molestation. It can also prohibit the use of communication both direct and indirect, including by phone, email, text messages or social media and prevent the abuser from entering the home.

An occupation order specifies who is allowed and who is not allowed in the family home and the surrounding area. The victim does not need to have a beneficial interest in the property in order to apply. The court must weigh up, on balance, whether the victim and any relevant children are likely to suffer significant harm if an order is not made, against the harm that would be suffered by the abuser if the order is made.

If you are suffering from domestic abuse and require legal advice please contact one of our specialist family law solicitors: Andrew Smith in York, Richard Buckley in Sheffield, or Chris Burns in Leeds.


Please note this information is provided by way of example and may not be complete and is certainly not intended to constitute legal advice. You should take bespoke advice for your circumstances.

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