By Juliet Phillips-James, Director, Gomer Williams (as featured in the Llanelli Star)
Q: I had been in a violent relationship with my ex-partner for three years and we have two children together. He was sent to prison following an assault on me. He was released several months ago and at the time there were conditions attached to his licence not to approach me.I have just been informed his licence conditions are due to expire soon and I should apply to the court for a non-molestation order. What is this and how do I go about getting one?
A: A non-molestation order is often referred to as an injunction. It is aimed at preventing your ex-partner from using or threatening violence against you or your children, or intimidating, harassing or pestering you.
It may be that despite the cuts to family legal aid you will still be eligible for legal aid in your case, and you should speak to a solicitor who specialises in this area who will advise you on the funding eligibility requirements.
Furthermore, your local Women's Aid organisation will be able to offer you advice and assistance in relation to the issues. If you do not have legal representation, the application form is available from the court or their website.
You will also need to make a sworn statement to the court detailing the physical and emotional abuse you have suffered.
You can apply by either giving notice to your ex-partner or not (ex parte). If you feel there is an imminent risk to you or your children, or giving notice could put you at risk you should apply without notice.
The matter will normally be heard fairly swiftly by the court. If the order is granted without notice, it is not effective until it has been served on your ex-partner. The court will then list the matter for a further hearing normally about seven days later, to allow your ex-partner the opportunity to attend and to put forward his representations. If you do secure a non- molestation order and it is breached by your ex-partner, this is a criminal offence and he can be arrested and brought before a criminal court.
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