Help for domestic abuse victims

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VICTIMS of domestic violence in Wearside are set to benefit from the police having more powers to protect them.

Police and magistrates can now put Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPOs) in place in the immediate aftermath of a domestic violence incident.

The North East’s three Police and Crime Commissioners, Vera Baird, Northumbria, Ron Hogg, Durham, and Barry Coppinger, Cleveland, believe the new powers will improve safety and make it easier for victims to get the help and support they need.

Ms 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.”

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.

There are two stages to the powers. The first stage allows officers to produce a Domestic Violence Protection Notice (DVPN), which can be issued if police believe a perpetrator has used or threatened violence towards a victim and the victim is at risk. This prevents the suspected offender returning to the address for 48-hours.

At the second stage, a Magistrates’ 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.