Victims of domestic violence will have more protection from police as of today, Monday.
New protection notices and orders have been introduced, which will allow the police and magistrates to protect victims of domestic violence when there isn’t enough evidence to charge the perpetrator.
Thames Valley Police chief inspector Emma Garside said: “These notices and orders give the police and magistrates the power to protect victims of domestic violence when there isn’t enough evidence to charge the perpetrator.
“Current law dictates if there is insufficient evidence to charge someone with a violent crime, there is no power to impose bail conditions preventing the perpetrator from contacting the alleged victim.
“Unfortunately this means the perpetrator is free to go home and potentially continue to abuse their partner or ex-partner.”
Domestic Violence Protection Notices (DVPN) serve as a temporary restraining order, which sets out a number of conditions the perpetrator must abide by until they appear in a magistrates’ court 48 hours later.
Once the DVPN is issued, the police officer will apply for a Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO), a civil order, via a magistrates’ court. After a hearing, the court will issue the DVPO which will set out further conditions the perpetrator must follow which will last for a period between 14 and 28 days.
If the DVPN or the DVPO is breached during the specified time, police have the power to arrest the perpetrator and they will appear in front of a magistrates’ court within 24 hours.
Ch Insp Garside added: “By imposing conditions set out by a Domestic Violence Protection Notice and the subsequent Protection Order, the victim and the perpetrator will get a cooling-off period which will come into effect immediately. During this cooling off period, the people involved can seek help and advice about what to do next.
“To ease some of the pressure upon the victim, they will not have to consent to the issue of a DVPN and they will not be expected to write a statement or appear in court unless they express they would like to do so.
“That said, any concerns around the issue of the DVPN will be taken into account at the time but as always, our priority is to ensure the safety of domestic violence victims and their families.”