Domestic Violence Protection Notices and Orders (DVPN and DVPO)
Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPOs) have been implemented across England and Wales since 8 March 2014. This follows a 1 year pilot scheme in the West Mercia, Wiltshire and Greater Manchester police force areas which the police have deemed as successful.
Domestic Violence Protection Orders are a new power that assists in providing protection to victims by enabling the Police and Magistrates to put in place protection in the immediate aftermath of a domestic violence incident.
These orders are normally used when there is not enough evidence to charge the perpetrator with a criminal offence but it is felt that protection is still required and can be issued when the victim of the domestic violence is reluctant to assist the police. The victim of the alleged domestic violence does not have to consent or even need to have made a statement in support of the Police case.
The Domestic Violence Protection Notice is used in cases where police believe a perpetrator has used or threatened violence towards a victim and the victim is at risk. This notice can be issued on the spot, provided the Police Officer has the authorisation of an officer at superintendent rank. This prevents the suspected offender returning to the address for 48-hours. If the suspected offender does not adhere to the Domestic Violence Protection Notice they will be arrested and potentially remanded and bought before the Magistrates Court.
In order for a Domestic Violence Protection Order to be considered, the Police must make an application to the Magistrates Court to hear their case within 48 hours of a Domestic Violence Protection Notice being given to the alleged perpetrator. The Magistrates can make a Domestic Violence Protection Order if two conditions are met:
- The court is satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the recipient has been violent towards, or has threatened violence towards, an associated person
- The court thinks that making the Domestic Violence Protection Order is necessary to protect that person from violence or a threat of violence by the recipient
The Domestic Violence Protection order will last for a minimum of 14 days and a maximum of 28 days from the date it is made by the Magistrates. Again, if the perpetrator does not adhere to the Domestic Violence Protection Order they will be arrested and potentially remanded and bought before the Magistrates Court.
The Policing Minister of Northumbria where this scheme was first piloted has said
“Domestic Violence Protection Orders 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.”
The first Domestic Violence Protection Order was issued in Northamptonshire on the 7th July 2014. Detective Chief Inspector Steve Lingley, said:
“This is one of the first DVPOs to be issued in the whole country and provides strong evidence that we are proactive and seeking everyone’s support to reduce violent crime in this county.”
The exact figures in relation to how many Domestic Violence Protection Orders have been issued is currently unknown. As a firm, we have been faced with one client who has been made subject to a Domestic Violence Protection Order since March 2014. The exact success of Domestic Violence Protection Orders is yet to be tested and seen.
With all of the above considered it does raise a question of fairness to an alleged perpetrator of domestic violence. The notices and orders can be given without the victims support and also without the perpetrator actually being proved to have committed the offence. This seems to undermine the doctrine of being innocent until you are proven guilty. Furthermore, it could be argued that if a person is arrested on suspicion of domestic violence and there is a real risk of it reoccurring with the perpetrator being released on bail, conditions may be added to it such as not going within a certain distance of a given address or location. A breach of these bail conditions would also lead to arrest and potential remand into custody. It may be argued that this would be sufficient and that the Domestic Violence Protection Orders go one step too far.
Should you or anyone you know be accused of domestic violence and need help then please contact our Crime Department at our Leicester office on 0116 2554855 or our Loughborough Office on 01509 610312.