Breaches of Non-Molestation Orders Frequently Asked Questions

19 July 2022

In the period between April 2021 to March 2022, there were 642 reported incidents of breaches of Non-Molestation Orders in Northern Ireland.

If you have been served with a Non-Molestation Order or have been charged with breaching an Order, you may require legal advice and representation urgently.  Below, we have provided you with answers to some of the most frequently asked questions in this area.

What is a Non-Molestation Order?

A Non-Molestation Order is a civil injunction under the Family Homes and Domestic Violence (Northern Ireland) Order 1998 that prevents an ‘associated person’ – namely partners, former partners and relatives – from harassing, pestering, intimidating or threatening the Applicant.

A Non-Molestation Order can be granted by the Court on an emergency (ex parte) basis whereby a Respondent is not aware that an application has been made until they are served with the Order.  Alternatively, an application for an Order can be made with a Respondent being given prior notice. 

A Non-Molestation Order has been made against me, what can I do?

If a Non-Molestation Order is granted against you, you are prohibited from contacting the applicant, even if they contact you first, as a breach of the Order can result in criminal proceedings against you. You are prevented from contacting the applicant directly or indirectly i.e. via text or phone, and you cannot get a family member or friend to contact the applicant on your behalf as this may also be reported as a breach of the Order.

Once you have been served with either a Non-Molestation Order or an application for an Order, you will be given an opportunity to respond to the allegations made against you. It is important that you seek legal advice at the earliest possibility on the options available to you to resolve matters.

What if I breach a Non-Molestation Order?

If you breach the terms of the Non-Molestation Order, it is for the applicant to report this to be PSNI. If the PSNI have sufficient evidence that there has been a breach of the Order, they have the power to arrest for breach of this Order. If the breach is serious enough, this may result in bail being refused or alternatively bail conditions being put in place. This will then result in criminal proceedings being brought against you for this breach.

If you are found guilty of breaching a Non-Molestation Order, the sentencing powers in the criminal Courts for breaches range from a fine to imprisonment. This will also result in you having an entry on your criminal record for breach of a Non-Molestation Order.

If you have been served with a Non-Molestation Order and wish to defend this or have received a summons/charge sheet for breach of a Non-Molestation Order, we can provide specialist advice in this matter. Please call our offices on 028 9024 3901 or email Nadege Lemon at for a free consultation to discuss your options.