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Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004

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Amendments to Part 4 of the Family Law Act 1996E+W

1Breach of non-molestation order to be a criminal offenceE+W

In Part 4 of the Family Law Act 1996 (c. 27) (family homes and domestic violence), after section 42 insert—

42AOffence of breaching non-molestation order

(1)A person who without reasonable excuse does anything that he is prohibited from doing by a non-molestation order is guilty of an offence.

(2)In the case of a non-molestation order made by virtue of section 45(1), a person can be guilty of an offence under this section only in respect of conduct engaged in at a time when he was aware of the existence of the order.

(3)Where a person is convicted of an offence under this section in respect of any conduct, that conduct is not punishable as a contempt of court.

(4)A person cannot be convicted of an offence under this section in respect of any conduct which has been punished as a contempt of court.

(5)A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable—

(a)on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, or a fine, or both;

(b)on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months, or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, or both.

(6)A reference in any enactment to proceedings under this Part, or to an order under this Part, does not include a reference to proceedings for an offence under this section or to an order made in such proceedings.

Enactment” includes an enactment contained in subordinate legislation within the meaning of the Interpretation Act 1978 (c. 30).

2Additional considerations if parties are cohabitants or former cohabitantsE+W

(1)Section 41 of the Family Law Act 1996 (c. 27) (which requires a court, when considering the nature of the relationship of cohabitants or former cohabitants, to have regard to their non-married status) is repealed.

(2)In section 36(6)(e) of that Act (court to have regard to nature of parties' relationship when considering whether to give right to occupy to cohabitant or former cohabitant with no existing right), after “relationship” insert “ and in particular the level of commitment involved in it ”.

3“Cohabitants” in Part 4 of 1996 Act to include same-sex couplesE+W

In section 62(1)(a) of the Family Law Act 1996 (definition of “cohabitant” for the purposes of Part 4 of that Act), for the words after “ “cohabitants” are” substitute “ two persons who, although not married to each other, are living together as husband and wife or (if of the same sex) in an equivalent relationship; and ”.

4Extension of Part 4 of 1996 Act to non-cohabiting couplesE+W

In section 62(3) of the Family Law Act 1996 (definition of “associated” persons for the purposes of Part 4 of that Act), after paragraph (e) insert—

(ea)they have or have had an intimate personal relationship with each other which is or was of significant duration;.

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