Domestic violence, harrassment and emergency remedies
I have made a report to the police of domestic abuse, can they not seek a protective order for me?
In short, yes.
The police now have the ability to apply for what are known as Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPOs). Upon application to the local criminal court to where you reside, Magistrates or a District Judge will consider whether it is proportionate and appropriate to put in place an order which provides protection in the immediate aftermath of an incident of domestic abuse or violence.
With DVPOs, a perpetrator can be banned with immediate effect from returning to a residence and from having contact with the victim for up to 28 days, allowing the victim time to consider their options and get the support they need. This also allows the victim to seek legal advice and help so that other applications can be brought to the civil or Family Court for an order seeking protection beyond the 28 period stipulated by the DVPO.
Before the introduction of DVPO’s, there was a gap in protection, because police couldn’t charge the perpetrator for lack of evidence and so provide protection to a victim through bail conditions, and because the process of granting injunctions such as a Non-Molestation Order or Protection from Harassment Order took time to apply for.
If a criminal offence has allegedly occurred and the perpetrator then charged with any offence, then the Crown Prosecution Service can seek a Restraining Order on your behalf.
A Restraining Order is a type of injunction which orders that a person stop doing certain stipulated acts.
Restraining orders may be made on conviction or acquittal for any criminal offence. These orders are intended to be preventative and protective. The guiding principle is that there must be a need for the order to protect a person or persons. A restraining order is therefore preventative, not punitive.
The test to be applied by the criminal court before making a Restraining Order is whether an order is necessary to protect the persons named in it from harassment or conduct that will put them in fear of violence.
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