Go to the new Buckinghamshire Council website

Toggle menu

Coronavirus support and information

Local information on coronavirus including service changes, business support, how to get help and vaccinations.

Housing and relationship breakdown

If you stay at home but would be at risk of violence

If you want to stay in your home, but by doing so you would risk violence, abuse or mistreatment you may be able to obtain an injunction to protect you and your children. Injunctions are orders from the court which tell a person not to do something. In an emergency, an injunction can often be applied for at very short notice.

The court will only grant an injunction if it believes the injunction is necessary to stop any further harm or violence. If some time has passed and the danger or emergency seems to be over, then the court may see no reason to intervene. If you feel you need protection you should seek legal advice straight away. Injunctions do not guarantee you protection, but can be a very effective deterrent. They will usually only be a temporary solution and so you will need to also look at other long term solutions.

What types of injunction can I get?

There are two main types of injunction you could get. These are:

Non-molestation order

This type of order would be used to tell a person to stop being violent or abusive.

You can get a non-molestation order if:

  • you are, or have been married or cohabiting
  • you live or have lived in the same household. This includes people in a same sex relationship
  • you don't live in the same property, but you are related or have agreed at some point to marry each other
  • you are parents of a child or have a legal parental responsibility
  • you can also get a non-molestation order for a child.

You do not have to prove violence to get a non-molestation order. Molestation can cover many forms of behaviour including harassment and pestering. In making a non-molestation order the court must consider all circumstances including the need to secure your health, safety and well being or that of a child.

Occupation order

This is an order from the court which says who is allowed to live in a property. You can get an occupation order against any of the people mentioned in the previous section if you are an owner, tenant, or have some other legal right to occupy your home (for example, because you are married to the owner or tenant or, in some cases, if you have put money into the home).

Occupation orders are also available to people who have no rights to the home if they are former spouses, heterosexual cohabitants or heterosexual former cohabitants of the abusive person. In these cases the court will consider matters such as how long the relationship lasted and when it ended. You don't have to be in the home to apply for an occupation order.

You do not have to prove violence to get an occupation order. The court will decide whether to make an occupation order based on how it thinks having or not having an order is likely to affect you, your ex- partner and any children. The court will take into account the possibility of ill-treatment (physical or non physical) and the possible effect on your physical and mental health. The effect on the development of any children must also be taken into account.

What happens if an order is broken?

When the court makes the order it may decide to say that if it is broken the offender should be arrested. If the court does not say this then your solicitor will need to ask the court to order the offender to come back to court if he/she breaks the order. The punishment for breaking the order could be a fine or imprisonment. The court will not usually send someone to prison the first time unless it considers it is very serious. It is more likely to give a warning.

How long do the orders last?

The court decides how long to make the order last. The court can make a non-molestation order last for as long as it chooses. In many cases this will only be for a few months but it can be renewed. Occupation orders for people who are owners, tenants, have a financial interest in the home or are married to the owner or tenant can be for any length of time. For people who have no other rights to occupy the home the order lasts up to six months, but it might be renewed