Police will be
able to prevent suspected domestic abusers from returning to a
victim's home, under a pilot scheme launched by the Home
Greater Manchester, West Mercia and Wiltshire police will run the
12 month trial of Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPOs),
which officers can use to stop perpetrators from contacting
victims or returning to their home for up to 28 days.
The scheme is designed to provide protection in the immediate
aftermath of a domestic violence incident, before civil
proceedings can be progressed. Domestic violence is a widespread
problem and comprised 14 per cent of all violent incidences
reported in the British Crime Survey last year.
Currently victims of domestic violence 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. If this does not happen, the only option for
victims may be to escape to temporary accommodation.
Minister for Equalities Lynne Featherstone said:
"Domestic violence is an appalling crime which sees
two people a week die at the hands of their partner or
ex-partners, while millions more suffer years of abuse in their
"This pilot scheme is designed to protect victims in
the short term and give them the breathing space to consider their
next steps, including longer term protection through a civil
The DVPO pilot is just one of the ways in which the
government is tackling the issue of domestic violence, as part of
its overall Violence Against Women and Girls Action Plan.
As part of the Plan there is a commitment to provide more
than £28 million of Home Office funding over the next four years
for local specialist services to support victims. This includes
£3.3 million of funding per year for local Independent Domestic
Violence Advisers and Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conferences and
£900,000 per year for national helplines to support victims of
Nicola Harwin CBE, CEO of Women's Aid, the national
domestic violence charity, said:
"Women’s Aid has been advocating for better legal
protection and support for women and children who are victims of
domestic abuse for nearly 40 years and we actively supported the
introduction of DVPOs.
"These orders could be an important and useful tool
in the police response toolkit to help improve options and safety
for all victims of domestic abuse, as similar measures in Europe
have shown. It is crucial that they form part of an effective
multi-agency response that meets survivors’ needs, including the
provision of advocacy and support from specialist domestic abuse services."
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. After the 12 month pilot period, there will be a full
evaluation against a number of success criteria. A decision to
roll out the DVPO scheme nationally will only be taken once the
evaluation is complete.
2. The scheme is based on a two-step process. Where the
police have reasonable grounds for believing that a perpetrator
has used or threatened violence towards the victim and the victim
is at risk of future violent behaviour, they can issue a Domestic
Violence Protection Notice on the spot to prevent the perpetrator
from returning, provided they have the authorisation of the
Superintendent. The magistrates' court must then hear the
case for the Protection Order itself – which is the second step –
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 will strike a balance between immediate protection for the
victim and judicial oversight.
3. In March this year, the government published a detailed
Action Plan - 'Call to End Violence Against Women and
Girls'. It can be viewed here - www.homeoffice.gov.uk/vawg.
4. The Action Plan focuses on four key areas: the prevention
of violence including reducing repeat victimisation, the provision
of support, the bringing together of groups to work in partnership
and action to reduce risk by ensuring perpetrators are brought to
5. Support and advice on domestic violence can be obtained
from the following helplines:
• National Domestic Violence Helpline (a 24/7 helpline run
jointly by Women’s Aid and Refuge) 0808 2000 247;
Rainbow (for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender victims) 0300
• Men’s Advice Line (for male victims of Domestic
Violence) 0808 801 0327;
• Stalking Helpline (for victims who
are being stalked) 0300 636 0300; and
• Respect phoneline
(for perpetrators seeking help to stop domestic violence) 0808 802 4040.
Home Office Press Office
Phone: 020 7035 3535