Greater Manchester Police has rolled 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.
During the first 12 months of the pilot, 184 DVPOs have been issued across the pilot areas.
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.
Detective Superintendent Phil Owen of Greater Manchester Police said: “We have been very pleased to be one of the Force areas chosen to pilot the Domestic Violence Protection Orders.
“Everyone has a right to feel safe in in their homes and have a future without fear and these new powers will help save lives by reducing harm within the home. Nationally two women a week die due to domestic abuse and our aim is to reduce the harm caused by Domestic Abuse and help victims regain control of their lives and move forwards to secure a safer, happier future.”
If domestic abuse is happening to you, or someone you know