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Police to have new powers to protect domestic abuse victims
9:21am Wednesday 5th March 2014 in News
Essex Police is planning to introduce new protection orders for victims of domestic abuse following a successful pilot.
The Government is rolling out domestic violence protection notices and domestic violence prevention orders across England and Wales.
Essex Police plans to have the scheme running by early summer.
Detective Inspector Nick Burston, of the Essex Police public protection unit, said: "They will allow us to put in place protection for the victim in the immediate aftermath of a domestic violence incident.
"They can be used where the perpetrator is cautioned, bailed without conditions but also where no further action is otherwise taken.”
The legislation can be used if a domestic incident occurs and violence has been used or threatened by someone over 18, and police fear for the victim's safety.
If the suspect is arrested and taken into custody then, police will investigate any criminal offences identified and consider using a domestic violence protection notice.
It can include banning them from entering a house or harassing a victim.
The notice is activated when they are released from custody if they are given a caution, bailed without conditions or where no further action is taken.
They will also be informed that police will be seeking a full domestic violence prevention order in the next 48 hours and given a court date. If they fail to attend, the order will be heard in their absence.
Magistrates court will consider the evidence and the restrictions being sought by the police at the time the initial notice was served on the perpetrator before deciding whether to grant the full order.
Once granted, the provisions will remain in place for 14 to 28 days, allowing the victim a level of breathing space to consider their options, with the help of support agencies.
Det Insp Burston said: "If someone breaches a notice they will be subject to immediate arrest and can then be remanded in custody to appear before a court for a full order to be considered. A breach of an order can lead to a maximum fine of £5,000 or a two month prison sentence.
"We see these orders as being an important addition in the early safeguarding of victims and will be working towards implementation as soon as possible.”
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