From 2 July 2012, Greater Manchester Police are rolling out new police powers to protect victims of domestic abuse by removing violent partners from the family home across Greater Manchester.
Greater Manchester Police, together with West Mercia and Wiltshire Police, have been running a pilot of these new police powers for the last 12-months in North and South Manchester, Oldham, Salford and Bolton, and these are now being piloted across the rest of the Force for another 12 months.
These powers give victims of domestic abuse the time, space and support to plan a safer future, by keeping the perpetrator away.
The Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPO) - allow senior police officers to act instantly to safeguard families they consider to be under threat from perpetrators of domestic abuse. The Orders are used to intervene in cases where police believe a victim may be at risk from violence or are worried about violent behaviour within a household, but do not have enough evidence to bring a criminal charge. Within 48 hours of a DVPO being issued, there is a further hearing in the Magistrates’ court where the length of the order is determined.
Before these orders, only those arrested and charged with an offence could be barred from their home, either through bail conditions or by the victim seeking an order in the civil courts. The new measures give police the power to ban violent abusers from their homes for a length of time decided through the magistrates’ court (between 14 and 28 days), allowing the victims to stay in their own homes rather than flee to a friend's home, or a refuge, to escape their abuser. This gives them vital respite and gives them time to consider their options. If abusers breach the Order it could then lead to a prison sentence.
As part of the scheme, victims will also be offered help and advice by caseworkers on the options open to them – including securing a longer-term injunction. Abusers will also be given the chance to attend a voluntary offenders’ programme run by the Greater Manchester Probation Service Trust, to ensure that, where appropriate, perpetrators can get the support they need.
If domestic abuse is happening to you, or someone you know, please call the Greater Manchester Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0161 636 7525 for help and advice. Please see the attached helpsheet for further information for victims of domestic abuse.