To raise awareness about the immediate safeguarding measures that can be put in place to protect victims of domestic abuse, North Yorkshire Police have today released details of the number of Domestic Violence Protection Orders granted by Magistrates in 2018.
Last year police immediately safeguarded 158 victims of domestic abuse, through the application of Domestic Violence Protection Notices (DVPNs) – a piece of legislation which orders the perpetrator of domestic abuse to leave the home or environment of the victim, and prevents them from making any contact or returning for an initial period of 48 hours.
DVPNs are usually applied in the immediate aftermath of violence, to give the victim a vital window of safety and space, to engage with police and support services to obtain advice.
With the 48-hour order in place, police can then apply for a Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO) which provides the same protection to the victim, but for an extended period of 28 days. Of the 158 DVPNs granted in 2018, 95% of them were extended by a Magistrate to a DVPO.
A DVPO can be granted by a Magistrate without the consent or the need for the victim to appear at court. Offenders who breach the order and contact the victim face penalties of up to a £50 fine per day, for every day in breach of the order and/or up to two months in prison.
In 2018, 21 breaches were recorded and pursued by police in the courts. Ten of those who breached the order were given custodial prison sentences of between one and eight weeks and seven were handed fines ranging between £50 and £250.
Detective Chief Inspector Shaun Page, from the Safeguarding Team at North Yorkshire Police, said: “Domestic Violence Protection Notices are vital pieces of legislation that we can use to immediately remove the perpetrator of the abuse, to provide the victim with a 48 hour initial period of safety.
"By police taking that next step and applying to the courts for a Domestic Violence Protection Order, that safe space can be extended for up to 28 days, allowing the victim more time to engage with advice and support services and determine what their next steps may be.
“If offenders breach the order, police will always act to ensure the full consequences of the law are realised. I’m pleased to say 80% of the breaches we brought to court last year resulted in the offender being imprisoned or fined for their actions.”
Sarah Hill, CEO of IDAS, a charity based in Yorkshire which supports people affected by domestic abuse and sexual violence, said: "Domestic Violence Protection Orders can provide IDAS with a window of opportunity for us to engage with victims and help keep them safe. In many cases, people are trapped in an abusive relationship and can feel that there is nowhere to turn for help and support.
"A DVPO can provide them with the breathing space away from the perpetrator to consider their options and to make sense of what they have been experiencing.
“Our qualified, experienced Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVAs), provide emotional and practical support to keep people safe from abuse and violence. We use a range of tools to help someone understand abusive behaviour and to feel empowered to make their own choices moving forward.
"With our support, victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence feel safer, have greater confidence and are able to make positive choices and move forward in their lives. We would urge anyone who is affected by domestic abuse to contact IDAS on 03000 110 110.”