From 2 June 2014 Warwickshire Police will have new powers enabling them to ‘press the stop button’ on domestic abuse to allow victims a breathing space to consider their future options.
It is hoped the new powers called Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPOs) will improve immediate protection for victims and their children as well as reducing incidents of domestic abuse over the longer term.
The new powers mean that officers entering a home in the immediate aftermath of domestic violence can prevent the perpetrator from returning to the address and from having contact with the victim for up to 28 days by initially serving a Notice on them. This allows the victim a level of breathing space to consider their options, with the help of a support agency.
The magistrates’ court must then hear the case for the Protection Order within 48 hours of the Notice being made.
If granted, the Order may last between a minimum of 14 days and a maximum of 28 days. This strikes a balance between immediate protection for the victim and judicial oversight.
This follows the introduction of the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme or Clare’s Law in Warwickshire on 10 March 2014.
Det Supt Stephen Cullen, Head of Protecting Vulnerable People said “These new powers being rolled out nationwide, give the police and other agencies additional tools to tackle domestic abuse and to bring offenders to justice. They also ensure victims have the support they need to help rebuild their lives.
Due to the alliance between the two forces, Warwickshire Police will benefit from the experience already gained by West Mercia Police who piloted the scheme alongside Greater Manchester and Wiltshire between June 2011 and 2012. During the pilot over 300 Protection Orders were made over the three policing areas.
Prior to the introduction of DVPO’s, victims of domestic abuse only receive immediate protection if the police arrest and charge a perpetrator, and appropriate bail conditions are set or a civil injunction is sought by the victim.
Ron Ball, Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner said “Protection Orders are another step forward in the battle against the scourge of domestic abuse increasing protection for those directly affected by domestic abuse. The Home Secretary has made this battle a priority and it is a priority for me. She is going to personally chair a National Oversight Group focussing on domestic abuse and, together with two of my commissioner colleagues, I will be sitting on that group. The introduction of DVPOs has my total support”.
Sue Ingram, Domestic Abuse Manager for Warwickshire County Council said “”All those working to end domestic abuse and support those affected really welcome these new police powers. By removing the perpetrator from the victims home we can give victims a period of time, free from violence and abuse, to get information on their options and the support available to them, and think about what they want for the future. It also sends a clear message that domestic abuse is never acceptable and such behaviour will not be tolerated.”
In Warwickshire, police and partners are working together as Warwickshire Against Domestic Abuse to encourage anyone affected by domestic abuse to seek help.
More information about domestic abuse is available for victims, perpetrators, friends and family, and young people on www.talk2someone.org.uk or by calling the Warwickshire Against Domestic Abuse helpline on 0800 408 1552 or the Free phone 24 hour National Domestic Violence Helpline, run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge.
Statistics about domestic abuse
- 1in4 women and 1in6 men will experience domestic abuse at some point in their lifetime
- On average two women a week in England and Wales are killed by a violent partner or ex partner
- Domestic abuse affects children too who are exposed to violence and may grow up to think it is normal. Friends, neighbours and relatives can help to stop domestic abuse. Visit www.talk2someone.org.uk for information and advice including a list of support agencies you can talk to about your situation.
- There were 1114 domestic abuse crimes in Warwickshire between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2014.