RADICAL new laws dealing with domestic violence have been put into practice for the first time.

Exeter County Court issued an occupation order and a non-molestation order on 3 October, just two days after the relevant provisions contained in the Family Law Act 1996 came into force. The orders, which are intended to prevent a person pestering, harassing or threatening the applicant, were issued for a client of solicitors Ford Simey Daw Roberts.

Solicitors Family Law Association vice-chair Rosemary Carter said she was “not at all surprised” it had been put into use so quickly, adding: “This shows it was needed.”

Under the new law, an applicant can apply for an occupation order excluding another person from living in a jointly occupied home if he or she can show they are likely to suffer harm from the person who is to be excluded. Previously the order could only be made if the applicant could show violence had actually taken place.

The Act also extends the availability of exclusion orders to a wider range of applicants.

See page 8.