Domestic violence can affect anybody, regardless of their gender, age, race, sexuality or social background.
Most victims of domestic violence are women and the perpetrators are men, but it can also happen in same sex relationships and men can be the victims of domestic violence by women.
Many kinds of domestic violence such as physical assault, rape, threats to kill and harassmen are criminal offences.
Aim of new powers
The aim of the Domestic Violence Protection Notice (DVPN) and the Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO) is to provide a victim with immediate protection following an incident of domestic violence and to give the victim time to consider what to do next. Surrey Police introduced these in July 2014.
Domestic Violence Protection Notice
A person aged 18 or over can be served with a DVPN if the police have reasonable grounds for believing that they have been violent or have threatened violence against another person and that the victim requires protection. The victim does not have to consent to the issuing of the DVPN.
What does a DVPN do?
It places certain conditions on the perpetrator. These may include:
- stopping him/her entering and being within a certain distance of the victim’s home
- stopping him/her from making the other person leave or excluding them from their home. Requiring him/her to leave the victim;s home
- if the perpetrator lives at the address specified on the DVPN and the notice requires him/her to leave immediately, he/she must go straight away.
- if the DVPN is breached, the victim, or a third party should call the police. The perpetrator will be arrested, kept in police custody and then brought before a Magistrate’s Court within 24 hours.
Domestic Violence Protection Order
Within 48 hours of the DVPN being issued (excluding weekends and Bank Holidays) the Police must submit an application to the Magistrate’s Court for a DVPO. The Magistrates can make a DVPO 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 victim)
- the Court thinks that making a DVPO is necessary to protect that person from violence or the threat of violence by the recipient.
A DVPO may be in force for at least 14 days beginning on the day it was made and no more than 28 days. The Order can include the same restrictions as those in the Notice.
What happens at the Magistrate’s Court hearing?
The evidence will be heard and the perpetrator will be given the opportunity to ask questions and give evidence, or he/she may have legal representation. The magistrates will take account of the welfare of anyone under 18 who the police consider will be affected by the DVPO.
Neither the perpetrator nor the victim have to be present at the hearing. The Magistrates can make an order in their absence.
If the DVPO is breached?
The victim or a third party should call the police. The perpetrator will be arrested and kept in custody. Within 24 hours he/she will be seen before a Magistrate’s Court and could be fined up to £5,000 and/or sent to prison for up to 2 months.
More information about domestic violence and abuse can be found on:
National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline 0808 2000 247
Surrey charity 24 hour helpline 01483 776822
Victim Support www.victimsupport.org.uk