Police & Crime Commissioners Vera Baird and Barry Coppinger
The region’s police bosses today launched a new power to help save victims of domestic violence.
Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPOs) are a new power that provides protection to victims by enabling the police and magistrates to put in place protection in the immediate aftermath of a domestic violence incident.
The three Police and Crime Commissioners, Barry Coppinger (Cleveland) , Vera Baird (Northumbria) and Ron Hogg (Durham) believe the new powers will improve safety and make it easier for victims to get the help and support they need.
Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland, Barry Coppinger, said: “It’s important to safeguard victims at an early stage and these orders will prove a lifeline for victims and children by reducing the risk of immediate harm against them. Domestic abuse does not discriminate and I will continue to give victims a voice by calling for and supporting new legislation to protect them and their families.”
Damian Green, Minister for Policing, Criminal Justice and Victims, has supported today's launch.
Mr Green said: "Domestic violence is a terrible form of abuse and the government is working hard to provide police and local authorities with the tools they need to stop this inexcusable crime.
"Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPOs) are designed to hand control back to the victim by ensuring they can consider their options in the immediate aftermath of a domestic violence incident.
“It is one of a raft of measures introduced by this government to help stamp out violence against women and girls and an important step in doing better by victims.”
DVPOs can ban a perpetrator with immediate effect from returning to a residence and from having contact with the victim for up to 28 days, allowing the victim time to consider their options and get the support they need.
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird said: “It is crucial that police are able to provide domestic violence victims with the protection they need to keep them safe.
“These powers allow police to take immediate action to ban a suspected perpetrator from the victim’s address for 48 hours.
“This can be done with or without the consent of the victim, thus removing the need for what can be a very difficult decision for the victim – whether to make a complaint against someone they may love and have children with.
“This breathing space not only gives the victim the reassurance that they are safe, but also allows them the time to consider their options and get access to support services without pressure from the perpetrator.”
There are two stages to the powers. The first stage allows officers to produce a Domestic Violence Protection Notice (DVPN). If police believe a perpetrator has used or threatened violence towards a victim and the victim is at risk, they can issue the DVPN on the spot, provided they have the authorisation of an officer at Superintendent rank. This prevents the suspected offender returning to the address for 48-hours.
The second stage the Magistrate's Court must hear a case for a DVPO within 48 hours of the DVPN being made. If granted, the Order may last between a minimum of 14 days and a maximum of 28 days.
Ron Hogg, Durham’s Police and Crime Commissioner, stated that the new powers are a positive step forward for the protection of victims. He said: “This is an exciting new initiative in tackling domestic abuse. Durham Constabulary will have 13 dedicated safeguarding DVPO officers, who will work in partnership with the courts and support services, to enable us to protect our most vulnerable victims.
“The new powers will also provide victims with some much needed breathing space and additional protection, to safeguard themselves from perpetrators of domestic abuse.”
The region's three Police and Crime Commissioners, Barry Coppinger (Cleveland) , Vera Baird (Northumbria) and Ron Hogg (Durham) have a joint Violence Against Women and Girls strategy which is available online at http://www.cleveland.pcc.police.uk/Document-Library/VAWG/Violence-Against-Women-and-Girls-Strategy-Summary.pdf
Posted on Monday 30th June 2014