New rule allows officials to issue a ‘non molestation’ order via phone, email or WhatsApp
A NEW rule in UK to allow officials to issue a ‘non molestation’ order to domestic abusers by phone, email or on WhatsApp.
The ministry of justice (MoJ) is set to amend court rules so that officials will not have to issue the order in person, reported The Telegraph.
The order, first piloted during the pandemic, may stop offenders to escape the banning orders by changing address or staying away from their homes, the report added.
According to ministers, the new rule ensures that the 36,000 domestic abusers issued with the bans each year will not be able to escape the orders.
Any breach of an order once issued is a criminal offence, with courts able to impose a sentence of up to five years in prison.
Justice minister Chris Philp told The Telegraph: “We always put victims first and never more so than during the pandemic. Using technology like this we can deliver swifter justice and ensure perpetrators cannot evade punishment by hiding from court orders.”
The orders ban abusers from using or threatening physical violence, intimidating, harassing, pestering or communicating with their victim.
It can also prevent the abuser coming within a certain distance of a victim, their home address or even attending their place of work, the report said.
The Family Procedure Rule Committee has now backed the ministry’s plans to ensure courts will always be able to let victims seek remote service.
Traditionally, once the order was approved, victims were required by courts to arrange for the court order to be served in person to an abuser, often by a third party at the perpetrator’s address. Courts had discretion to allow alternative service, but this was often not used.
Because of social distancing during the pandemic, rules were clarified to allow courts the discretion to approve service in other ways. Proof that the order has been delivered has been possible due to systems such as ‘read notifications’ or tracked email, the report further said.