Cheshire Police implemented DVPO’s on 2nd June 2014. This follows the successful pilot of the scheme across Cheshire.
The Government has agreed the roll out of Domestic Violence Protection Notices (DVPN) and Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPO) across England and Wales.
Detective Chief Inspector Nigel Wenham, of Cheshire Police Strategic Public Protection Unit, said:
“These Protection Notices and Orders provide our officers and the courts with new powers. Domestic Violence is a heinous crime which leaves people living in fear in the one place that they should feel safe, their own home. This is an invaluable new tool for our officers as it allows them to act swiftly to protect those at risk of violence from their partner. The provision of a Notice, followed by an Order will give the victim breathing space to consider their options and seek support. During this time we will talk to the victim about what is best for them and what they want to do.”
How it works
This legislation can be used if a domestic incident occurs and violence has been used or threatened by someone over 18 and the level of the violence causes the police officer to fear for the on-going safety of the victim.
If the person is arrested and taken to custody, as well as investigating any criminal offences, officers must also give consideration to the use of a domestic violence protection notice.
The notice is the first stage of this process and lasts for 48 hours. This tells the person involved of restrictions that are being placed on them by police which must include a non-molestation condition which means that the offender cannot do anything to intimidate or harass the victim in any way and can also include banning them from entering the home or harassing a victim in any way such as making lots of phone calls or sending constant texts.
The notice comes into effect when they are released from custody, if they are given a caution, unconditionally bailed or where no further criminal action is taken against them.
The offender will also be informed that police will be seeking a full domestic violence prevention order (DVPO) and they will be required to appear in front of a magistrate within 48 hours. Applications for all orders in Cheshire will be heard at one central court (Chester Magistrates Court). If they fail to attend, the order will be heard in their absence.
The DVPO is then made by a magistrates’ court - it will consider the evidence and the conditions being sought by the police at the time the notice was first served to the offender.
The full list of provisions can include prohibitions on the perpetrator:
- Molesting the victim (must be included)
- Evicting or excluding the victim from a premises
- Entering the premises
- Coming within a certain distance of the premises
- Requiring a perpetrator to leave the premises.
Once an order is granted the restrictions will remain in place for a period of 14 to 28 days as directed by the magistrate, allowing the victim time and space to consider their options, with the help of support agencies.
DCI Wenham added:
“These new powers will give an arresting officer the ability to act to protect victims who they consider to be at risk of further abuse even when they may be too intimidated to make a complaint themselves. Intervention of this kind will not only be the first step to a better life for victims but could even save their lives in some cases.
If someone breaches a notice they will be subject to immediate arrest and can then be remanded in custody to appear before a court for a full order to be considered. A breach of an order can lead to a maximum fine of £5,000 or a two month prison sentence.
We see these orders as being an important addition in the early safeguarding of victims and their children. We are committed to supporting victims of domestic violence, working with our partners across Cheshire to prevent further offending and bringing offenders to justice.”