If there is one takeaway from the drama of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s divorce, it is that harassment can affect anyone regardless of fame or wealth. The media is replete with accounts of West’s harassment of Kardashian via his social media platform. The drama became heated due to West’s increasingly disturbing behavior, fueled by his fans on social media platforms.
West publicly insinuated that he would be willing to cause grievous harm to thwart the divorce plan. According to reports from Elle, West even released a song where he said God saved him from an accident so he could beat up Kardashian’s partner Pete Davidson. Reportedly West posted a screenshot of a text allegedly from Kardashian, in which she tells West that he is “creating a dangerous and scary environment” that could lead to Davidson being harmed.
The effect of this constant barrage of harassment took its toll on Kardashian and her family. Kardashian issued a public statement earlier this month describing West’s “constant attacks” as “hurtful” and “causing further pain” to their family.
While West’s harassment of Kardashian has received considerable attention, many people in the UK suffer similar behaviour and these cases generally do not hit the media. It is estimated that in the UK, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men will experience domestic abuse during their lifetime.
However, there are a number of legal remedies available to protect people who are harassed, abused, or threatened by their partners. These protections come in the form of injunctions that allow the victims to live without the fear of more violence or threats. Breaching an injunction is a criminal offence.
What is an injunction?
An injunction is an order from a court prohibiting someone from doing something or mandating them to do something. An injunction is an effective way of dealing with people causing physical or emotional harm to you and your children.
When it comes to the issue of harassment and other domestic issues, two types of injunctions apply. These are Non-Molestation Orders and Occupation Orders under the Family Law Act 1996 (part IV):
- A Non-Molestation Order: A Non-Molestation Order prohibits your present or former partner from being violent to you and your family. It also protects you from threats of violence, pestering, and other forms of harassment. It applies to both acts done in person and indirectly, for example online or via letters.
- An Occupation Order: An Occupation Order gives you the right to remain in your family home while protecting you from your abuser, even if they are a co-owner of the property. It also restricts your abuser’s right to be in the surrounding area. You can get an Occupation Order for your home even if you are not the legal owner, depending on the circumstances.
Who can apply for an injunction?
To be able to apply for an injunction against someone, you must be an ‘associated person’. If you are associated with the person in any of the following ways, you are an associated person:
- Civil partnership
- Cohabitation (including same-sex couples)
- You lived in the same household
- Formal marriage agreement (even if it has been cancelled)
- Share responsibility for a child either as parents or guardians
- Have been in an intimate relationship of significant duration
- Involved in the same family proceedings such as divorce or child contact arrangements
How to obtain a Non-Molestation or Occupation Order
Your lawyer will require you to make a sworn statement to back your allegations. When you have applied for the injunction, the other party, known as the Respondent, will receive notification of the application. Both of you will appear before the court on the day of the hearing. At the hearing, the Respondent can admit or deny the allegations.
The court will usually grant an injunction for six months or one year. There are cases where the duration can be more extended periods or ‘until further notice’. When the term expires, you can apply to renew the order if necessary.
If the Respondent denies the allegations or is unwilling to leave the property, it may be necessary to attend further hearings.
How to obtain a Non-Molestation or Occupation Order ex parte
Where there is a risk that the Respondent would escalate their harassment and violence if they knew of the injunction application, your lawyer may recommend that you apply ‘ex parte’, i.e., without notice. An ex parte application allows you to complete the application without the Respondent’s knowledge. The Respondent only hears of the application once they have been served with a notice to attend the court hearing.
At the court hearing, the judge will listen to both sides and either grant the appropriate injunction or dismiss the application.
Harassment, intimidation, and domestic abuse are serious issues. If you have been affected by these issues, don’t hesitate to contact us on 0800 222 9500 to book a free initial consultation with one of our specialist family solicitors. The solicitor will help you to understand the options available to you and answer any questions you may have.