Nationwide changes in the way victims of domestic violence are protected have been announced, following a Middlesex University produced evaluation of the Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO) pilot run by three police force areas.
Middlesex University partnered with London Metropolitan University to deliver the report for the Home Office which looked at a new civil provision designed to provide immediate protection for victim-survivors of domestic violence where no other enforceable restrictions can be placed upon the perpetrator, and normally where the CPS does not bring criminal proceedings.
The evaluation of the pilot--which ran from 2011-12--suggests that DVPOs were generally seen positively by police officers, practitioners and victim-survivors and were associated with a reduction in re-victimisation, particularly when used in 'chronic' cases. Consequently the evaluation recommends wider roll out of DVPOs, which was accepted by the Home Office and announced on 25 November.
The evaluation found a negative cost impact over the pilot period, but there are likely to be further benefits that the evaluation could not quantify (e.g. preventing escalating violence), and over the long term, the benefits increase relative to costs.
DVPOs give victims - who might otherwise have had to flee their home - time to get the support they need. Prior to the scheme, there was a gap in protection, because police couldn't charge the perpetrator for lack of evidence and because the process of granting injunctions took time. The scheme addresses that. It gives police and magistrates the power to protect a victim immediately after an attack, most usually by stopping the perpetrator from contacting the victim or returning home for up to 28 days.
The report was commissioned to help decide whether a change in law was needed. The Middlesex academics who worked on the report were led by Joanna R. Adler and include Miranda A.H Horvath, Mark Coulson, David Kernohan and Mark Gray.
If you have been affected by these issues, details of organisations set up to provide help and support can be found at this link.