Reporting Domestic Violence and Gaining Protection


If you have been a victim of domestic violence, you may be worried about the repercussions of phoning the police and reporting the offender, what if they decide to continue the abuse?

Domestic Abuse

You may be understandably concerned, however, there are many things the police can do to protect you from further abuse, and bring the perpetrator to justice.

Domestic Violence Orders

For some victims of domestic violence, going to the police can feel like a last resort. The police are taking active steps to support victims of domestic violence to prevent their abuser from coming back to harm them and any children that may be a part of the relationship.

If you have been a victim of domestic violence, the police may issue a domestic violence protection notice (DVPN) in your best interests as an emergency protection to keep you safe. It can stop the perpetrator from contacting you or returning to your home. If this is breached, the police can then arrest the abuser without a warrant, and whilst they are in custody, apply for a domestic violence protection order (DVPO).

The DVPO must last for no fewer than 14 days (2 weeks) and no more than 28 days (4 weeks) from the day on which it was made. This time frame can be a lifeline for those who are victims of abuse as it can give you time to adjust your lifestyle and put other systems in place when the timescale for the DVPO runs out.

VPO – Civil not Criminal

A breach of a DVPO is a civil matter and not criminal so it will vnot automatically lead to a criminal conviction and it will not be on any criminal checks carried out on the perpetrator. As a starting point DVPO's are ideal but there is a lot more that can be done to give victims of domestic violence more protection through the law.

#Safe, a group of domestic violence campaigners have been alerting to the fact that DVPO's should be accompanied by police harassment notices (PINs) or harassment warnings but to date there has been no change in the law.

Is There Anything Else I Can Do?

Family Law solicitor Helen Doolan from Simpson Millar LLP comments, "It is great news that the police are starting to take action to perpetrators of domestic violence who continually ignore the law and orders in place. Hopefully, this is a step in the right direction for the protection of victims of domestic violence. However, anyone suffering at the hands of a violent partner or ex-partner should be aware that they do not need to wait for the intervention of the police and if they are not being adequately protected they are entitled to seek a non-molestation injunction at any point. Legal Aid is still available in these cases, if eligible".

Despite the good news in this case, there are instances in which DVPO's are breached and the perpetrator is not taken off the streets. This can obviously cause anxiety but there are things that you can do.

If you have a DVPN you may be eligible for Legal Aid as specified by Helen. A non-molestation order can prevent your abuser from being violent to you or threatening violence to you and your child. Unlike previously, breaching this order is a criminal offence and the perpetrator can be imprisoned, fined, or both.

The hardest part is taking the first step away from your abuser and into a new life. Help is out there and available and knowing where to go and what to do is now a little clearer for those who need advice.

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