Thursday, November 25, 2010

Domestic violence protection orders revived

Well, it just goes to show how much I know. Only two days ago I speculated that domestic violence would be one of the few areas in the family justice system where there would be no change. Today, I find that Home Secretary Theresa May has decided to resurrect the previous government's plans for domestic violence protection orders (otherwise known as "go orders").

Under the plans, the police will have powers to prevent alleged abusers from having contact with the victim, or returning to the victim's home, for 48 hours. A court would then be able to extend the order for a period of up 28 days. The plans will undergo a year-long pilot scheme, starting next summer in the Greater Manchester, Wiltshire and West Mercia police areas.

According to the BBC, the proposed "go orders" could be used even if there was not enough evidence to charge a suspect. Obviously, this raises concerns for innocent alleged abusers, particularly as it may be difficult for them to return to their homes, once they have been ordered to leave. It may also lead to a spate of unfounded allegations by parties who just want to force their partners out of their homes (which could then have a knock-on effect upon other issues, such as arrangements for children, or who is to keep the home). Hopefully, the pilots will address these issues.

The Guardian tells us that 'May said that tackling violence against women was a priority for her personally and for the government', and the BBC article quotes British Crime Survey figures which suggest that more than one in four women in the UK will experience domestic abuse at some point in their life. Both seem to be forgetting that men are of course also victims of domestic violence. However, one wonders how often will the police use these powers against women?


  1. Blimey, not a good advert for the first female home secretary.

    Of course this will lead to more acrimonious split ups and lawyers bills, which is probably where the lobbying came from. I thought the men's groups had more influence with the Conservatives, but apparently not.

    So now, you don't like the way your husband was with arguing with your Mum over who carved the Xmas turkey, you phone the police and get him out then spend a fortune on a lawyer to keep him out. I would've hoped politicians would have better things to do than this, but obviously not. I was thinking that perhaps they should get their pay rise, but now think not.

  2. I noticed on the R4 Today programme piece that the Chief Constable of (I think) Wiltshire when interviewed this morning was very consistent throughout referringto 'victim', 'abuser', 'partner' and 'person' etc rather than assuming it was always going to be women who were the victims.

    I have only rarely had a case where the victim was the male partner but I did find that the police were perfectly willing to act to protect him. (And also in cases involving same sex couples)

    Of course, for the police to use their powers the victim has to be willing to make that initial call...


  3. Thanks, Bagpuss. That sounds hopeful.

  4. On the BBC site there's a statement attributed to May which claims that 2 women a day die "at the hands of their partners". That would be 730 deaths a year (road deaths are sub 3,000). This can't possibly be right - another case of abuse of statistics by politicians?

    Has May gone through a Harriet Harman indoctrination course, or is it cus they think there's votes in it? As previously commented, this appears to open the floodgates to conniving and malicious accusations which would prejudice custody etc. Also strange that sufferers of DV are all women.....

  5. This was on the radio this morning. In the UK last year, 7 women died last year due to the police having insufficient powers with regards to domestic violence.

    The figure was actually where the police had already attended the household previously, so would actually be lower as the article was critical that they did nothing, not that they couldn't do anything, so basically, this proposal should be scrapped.


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