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Essex: Police issue more than 50 domestic violence prevention orders using new legislation

PUBLISHED: 11:55 29 July 2014 | UPDATED: 11:56 29 July 2014

Police are using new domestic abuse legislation

Police are using new domestic abuse legislation

Archant

Essex Police have used new legislation to protect women believed to be at risk of domestic violence 54 times since the system went live eight weeks ago.

Superintendents in the force have authorised the use of Domestic Violence Protection Notices (DVPN) in the cases where reports have been received of domestic related incidents.

There has been insufficient evidence to charge suspects in these cases with a crime but officers have had still had enough concern about the safety of the victims that they have put in place DVPNs.

The notices can order the suspects to leave the premises where the incidents occurred, prevent them from entering the homes of the alleged victims and stop them from making any further contact with them, as well as further provisions.

When the cases have then gone to court, within 48 hours, magistrates have also approved the imposition of a Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO) in every single case.

These DVPOs then endorse the initial restrictions for a further 14 or 28 days.

Adam Hunt, head of legal services at Essex Police, said: “We have set up a new legal team to handle all of these cases and it is testament to their expertise and knowledge that every single DVPO application we have taken to court so far has been approved.

“We will continue to put together the best possible case in support of our officers who are making use of this new legislation to protect vulnerable women and men.”

Domestic violence protection notices and orders give police new civil powers which originate from the Crime and Security Act 2010.

They allow the police to put in place protection for victims in the immediate aftermath of a domestic violence incident. They are generally used where no further action can be taken in relation to alleged offences.

The legislation can be considered for use if a domestic incident occurs and violence has been used or threatened by someone over 18 years of age and the level of the violence causes the attending police officer to fear for the on-going safety of the victim.

The notice informs the perpetrator of emergency provisions that are being placed on them by police.

The notice is activated when it is served on the perpetrator. The perpetrator does not have to be in custody or have been arrested for a DVPN to be authorised or served.

The DVPO is then considered by a magistrates court – once an order is granted the provisions allow the victim a level of breathing space to consider their options, with the help of support agencies.

Detective Inspector Nick Burston, of Essex Police public protection unit, said: “A DVPO can bridge the gap in providing immediate emergency protection to a victim where there is a risk of violence.

“If someone breaches a notice they can 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.”

Since introducing DVPOs one man has been sent to prison after he breached the terms of his order. Three others have been fined.

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