News from Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence

Friday, 30 November 2012

County out front in fight against domestic abuse

Area selected for pilot project which has been highly praised and proved successful

WORCESTERSHIRE is leading the way when it comes to one way of tackling domestic violence.
The county was selected as one of three national pilot sites for domestic violence protection orders and – due to its success – has helped shape national strategy, having been highly praised by the Home Office.
The aim of domestic violence protection notices (DVPNs) and domestic violence protection orders (DVPOs) is to provide additional powers to the Criminal Justice Service (CJS) to control the activities of perpetrators of gender-based violence.

Research indicates that from a victim’s perspective, the ability of the CJS to provide safety is key to the decision about ‘staying in’ or ‘dropping out’ of the system.

It is not unusual for situations to arise in which a suspected offender, who is neither charged nor otherwise on bail at the time of release from police custody, is free to return to the scene of abuse, sometimes within hours of arrest. Research shows that this is a time of increased risk to a victim – where a risk assessment is undertaken it is often considered best that the victim leaves the address.

Leaving home can have a negative impact on the victim’s wellbeing and causes disruption to the victim’s children and could be another factor in the prosecution attrition rate.

The orders, also referred to as ‘go orders’, give victims of domestic abuse further support to escape their abusers.

They build on existing police measures providing immediate emergency protection for a victim and their children, giving protected space for them to explore the options available to them and make informed decisions regarding their safety.

VICTIM AND ABUSER: The county has been chosen
as one of three national pilot sites for
domestic violence protection orders
The protection notice gives the victim 48 hours emergency protection with the offender being bailed to appear before the magistrates court where the magistrates can extend the order for between 14 and 28 days. The powers allow the police and other agencies to step in and protect a victim when they are at their most vulnerable in the immediate aftermath of an offence.

The civil orders enable the police to exclude the alleged abuser from returning to the victim’s home or having contact with the victim. The orders are accompanied with a power of arrest and breaches of the orders can result in a custodial sentence. In Worcestershire there have been three occasions of breaches which have resulted in two offenders being imprisoned. These sentences reinforce to victims that these new protective orders have weight and focus on putting victims first.  During the pilot period, there have been 56 DVPOs granted by the courts across Worcestershire, which have resulted in the safeguarding of 70 children.

Martin Lakeman, strategic co-ordinator for the Worcestershire Forum Against Domestic Abuse said: “Building trust and confidence is a key element of our work with survivors of domestic abuse and the successful pilot of domestic violence protection orders in Worcestershire is testimony to this. We are delighted with the positive outcomes for victims and their children and look forward to a future where their safety can be secured.”A local survivor, who wishes to remain anonymous, commented on the DVPO which was granted against her former partner: “There is no doubt in my mind, that if it hadn’t been for the DVPN I would not be here today.”


THE Worcestershire Forum Against Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence along with your Worcester News is supporting the international campaign the 16 Days of Action that aims to end violence against women.

The campaign which has a white ribbon emblem – displayed on our front page masthead throughout the campaign runs until Monday, December 10.

For further information about the Worcestershire Forum Against Domestic Abuse contact Martin Lakeman on 01905 822357.

To call in confidence about domestic abuse call the domestic abuse helpline on 0800 980 3331 or the men’s advice line on 0808 8010327.