From 1 January 2015, a victim of a serious violent or sexual offence will be able to apply for a court order to prevent the offender from contacting them.
Who can someone apply for a victim's non-contact order?
A victim of a violent offence, for which the offender has been sentenced to more than two years in prison, can apply to the court for a non-contact order against that person (unless there is already a protection order or restraining order in place for protecting the victim from the offender).
What does it mean if someone has a victim's non-contact order against them?
The order can prohibit the offender from contacting the victim in any way e.g. following them, sending them text messages or showing up at their workplace. It can also prohibit the offender from encouraging someone else (an “associate”) to contacting the victim on their behalf.
If necessary, the order can also prohibit the offender from entering, living, or working in a particular area.
Is there a time limit to applying for a victim's non-contact order?
A victim will be able to apply to the court for a non-contact order at any time after the offender has been sentenced.
They can apply for a non-contact order “without notice” if it needs to be put in place urgently. See our Protection orders page for how “without notice” applications work.
How long will a victim's non-contact order last?
A non-contact order will generally last for two years unless either a different time period is specified by the court or it is discharged.
The order can be discharged by the court if:
- either the victim or the offender successfully apply to have the non-contact order discharged
- the offender’s conviction is quashed or their sentence is replaced by a sentence of less than two years in prison.
If the order also prevents an associate of the offender from contacting the victim, the associate can apply to have the order discharged where it relates to them.
How is a victim's non-contact order different from a protection order or a restraining order?
A protection order is designed to protected someone from a person who is in a domestic relationship with them, for example their spouse or flatmate, and can be made urgently.
A restraining order is meant to protect someone from a person not in a domestic relationship with them. It will only apply to the person who is doing the harassing and generally lasts for one year unless the court directs otherwise.
A victim's non-contact order is specifically to protect someone who has been a victim of a violent offence, from the offender. It can also be used to prevent the offender from encouraging their associates to harass their victim. This kind of order can be made urgently.