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Non-molestation orders – effective practice published

Published on 28 July 2022
Current practice information supports forces to use non-molestation orders consistently and effectively
2 mins read
Back of a police officer

We've published effective current practice for using non-molestation orders. The information supports police to use non-molestation orders to protect victims of abuse.

The current practice came from a review of information provided by 32 forces. Forces using non-molestation orders most effectively shared common processes around:

  • recording and updating information

  • local monitoring

  • recording, responding to and processing breaches

  • safeguarding and transferring victims

  • data retention

  • other protective measures

Non-molestation orders are also known as civil court orders or injunctions. Officers should consider using them in plans to safeguard victims and their children. They prevent abusers from:

  • using or threatening violence against a victim

  • intimidating, harassing or pestering victims

A breach of a non-molestation order is a criminal offence.

The publication of the current practice follows an investigation into a super-complaint submitted by the Centre for Women’s Justice. The super-complaint highlighted inconsistent and ineffective use of non-molestation orders across forces.

A recommendation from the super-complaint was that 'chief constables should review and if necessary, refresh their policy on how the force processes notifications of non-molestation orders, so officers can easily identify if a non-molestation order exists'.

Nobody should have to live in fear of violence and everyone in policing knows we have to do more to better protect women and girls. 

Non-molestation orders (NMOs) can be an extremely useful tool to crack down on perpetrators and protect the public whilst providing victims with the care and support they deserve. 

Although we found many examples of good practice from forces such as proactive checks by neighbourhood teams, contact with victims to offer them reassurance, and building rapport with a suspect to encourage compliance, there was a lack of consistency. 

From the data we discovered the most effective use of NMOs occurred in forces with clear systems in place and where these were routinely considered as part of safeguarding plans. The College of Policing has shared this information with forces  so they can review and drive more consistent and effective use of non-molestation orders across policing. 

The College already has significant resources available to frontline officers to support them in responding to incidents day and night in our violence against women and girls toolkit.  

Superintendent Manjit Atwal QPM, Head of Delivery for the national violence against women and girls taskforce, College of Policing

Read non-molestation orders current practice

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