Occupation orders are court orders that extend or restrict a person’s right to occupy a home. They can, for example, give you the right to stay in the family home where you didn’t previously have that right (for example, where the tenancy is a sole tenancy in the perpetrator’s name) or exclude the perpetrator from the home.
An occupation order can be applied for separately or as part of other family law proceedings (divorce or custody proceedings, for example) The details of the order you can apply for will depend on your relationship to the perpetrator and the type of accommodation you live in.
Occupation orders can have a power of arrest attached so, for example, if the perpetrator has been excluded from the home, they can be arrested if they try to gain entry. The perpetrator can be given a custodial sentence or fined for breaching the order.
You will need to seek the advice of a solicitor to get an occupation order. They cannot guarantee your safety, and will only last for a limited time, so you will need to take further action to settle who stays in the property in the long term. You will need advice from a family solicitor about this.
For further help and advice visit the FLOWS (Finding Legal Options for Women Survivors) website. They can help you consider the legal options available, online, on the phone, or sitting down with an expert in your local area. It’s an entirely free, confidential and fully independent service.