ESSEX Police has twice used new legislation to protect women believed to be at risk of domestic violence.
Domestic Violence Protection Notices (DVPNs) were introduced in Essex on Sunday June 1 and have already been authorised on two occasions.
Police were called to incidents in the south of the county late on Saturday and early Sunday following reports of domestic related incidents. In both cases the suspects were arrested and interviewed but there was insufficient evidence to charge them with crimes.
However, after assessing the circumstances, officers took the decision to request authorisation from a Superintendent for DVPNs to be put in place in both cases.
The notices ordered the suspects, both men, to leave the premises where the incidents occurred, prevented them from entering the homes of the alleged victims and stopped them from making any further contact with them, as well as further provisions.
Both cases have today (Tue June 3) gone to Magistrates Courts where Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPOs) were confirmed. In one case the restrictions were put in place for 28 days and in the other for 14.
Detective Inspector Nick Burston, of Essex Police public protection unit, said: “Domestic violence protection notices and orders give police new civil powers which originate from the Crime and Security Act 2010.
“They allow us to put in place protection for victims 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.
“To have two authorisations within just over 24 hours of the legislation becoming live in Essex is very encouraging in terms of offering additional protection to potential victims.”
The legislation can be considered for use if a domestic incident occurs and violence has been used or threatened by someone over 18 years of age and the level of the violence causes the attending police officer to fear for the on-going safety of the victim.
The notice informs the perpetrator of emergency provisions that are being placed on them by police.
The notice is activated when it is served on the perpetrator if they are given a caution, bailed without conditions or where no further action is taken. The perpetrator does not have to be in custody or have been arrested for a DVPN to be authorised or served.
The DVPO is then considered by a Magistrates court – once an order is granted the provisions will remain in place for a period of 14 to 28 days, allowing the victim a level of breathing space to consider their options, with the help of support agencies.
DI Burston said: “A DVPO can bridge the gap in providing immediate emergency protection to a victim where there is a risk of violence.
“If someone breaches a notice they can 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.”