You can apply for an occupation order if you’re a victim of domestic abuse and meet the requirements. The order will say who can live in the family home or enter the surrounding area.
You can apply if:
- you own or rent the home and it is, was, or was intended to be shared with a husband or wife, civil partner, cohabitant, family member, person you’re engaged to or parent of your child
- you do not own or rent the home but you’re married or in a civil partnership with the owner and you’re living in the home (known as ‘matrimonial home rights’)
- your former husband, wife or civil partner is the owner or tenant, and the home is, was, or was intended to be your shared matrimonial home
- the person you cohabit or cohabited with is the owner or tenant, and the home is, was, or was intended to be your shared home
You can apply for an ‘injunction’ if you’ve been the victim of domestic abuse. An injunction is a court order that either:
- protects you or your child from being harmed or threatened by the person who’s abused you – this is called a ‘non-molestation order’
- decides who can live in the family home or enter the surrounding area – this is called an ‘occupation order’
The person named in the injunction can be arrested if they break it.
Get advice on applying for an injunction from a charity, for example Refuge, Women’s Aid, Citizens Advice or the Men’s Advice Line.
You may be able to get free legal representation.
If you’re in immediate danger of being abused or have been abused, report it to the police.
You can use the RCJ Citizens Advice CourtNav service to prepare an injunction application online.
You’ll need to:
- create an online account
- explain what happened to you
- include the name and address of the person who’s abused you
As part of your application, you can choose a law firm to review it.
If you’re unable to get legal aid or pay for legal advice, your application can be sent back to a legal adviser at RCJ Citizens Advice to check for free.
The legal adviser will tell you if you need to make a court application and how to submit one.
Because of coronavirus (COVID-19), your hearing may take place over a video or phone call. If you need a face-to-face hearing, you’ll need to explain why in your application.
Follow these steps to apply for an injunction by email or post.
- Check if you’re eligible to apply for a non-molestation order or an occupation order.
- Download and fill in the application form (form FL401) and make 2 copies.
- Write your witness statement telling the court what has happened and asking for the relevant order.
- At the bottom of the witness statement write a statement of truth. Use the following words: “I believe that the facts stated in this witness statement are true.” Sign and date the statement of truth.
- Download and fill in form C8 if you want to keep your address and telephone number private.
- Email or send all the documents to a court which deals with domestic abuse cases – there’s no fee.
Many courts are closed because of coronavirus. You’ll need to check that the court is open and staffed before you send in your application.
If you need protection immediately, ask for an emergency order when you apply. You do not have to tell the person you want protection from that you’re applying so it’s known as a ‘without notice’ or ‘ex-parte’ application.
The court will hold a hearing which you must attend. It may issue an order at the hearing.
You’ll still have to tell that person about your application after the order has been issued.
An emergency order will usually last until your hearing.
If you’re under 16 you’ll need permission to apply from the High Court.
If you’re 16 or 17 you’ll need to appoint a ‘litigation friend’ to represent you in court – this is usually a parent, family member or close friend.