Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Manchester pilot scheme leads to 100 violent partners banned from homes

A pilot that gives police the power to ban violent partners from the family home is being hailed a huge success in Greater Manchester.

 More than 100 violent partners have been barred from their victim’s homes in Manchester, Salford, Bolton and Oldham as part of a new weapon in the fight against domestic abuse The Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPOs) have been granted by magistrates since July, banning perpetrators from contacting the victim or entering their home, giving victims of domestic abuse the time, space and support to plan a safer future.

 Any abusers who have breached their Order have been sentenced for up to six weeks in prison. One lady who has been able to turn her life around thanks to a DVPO is a 64 year old from Greater Manchester. She received a DVPO after reporting the abuse to the police for the first time since it began 21 years ago, “The DVPO has changed my life and allowed me to be free from abuse and start a whole new life for myself. I would urge any other victims to report abuse as there really is help out there.”

Over the Christmas period, when there are more cases of domestic abuse than at any other time of year, the DVPOs will allow senior police officers to act instantly to safeguard families living in Manchester, Salford, Bolton and Oldham.

The Orders will be used to intervene in cases where police are worried about violent behaviour within a household, where a criminal justice outcome is not possible and where a DVPO would be appropriate.

Detective Superintendent Philip Owen, GMP’s Public Protection Division, said: “Thanks to these new powers, more than 100 victims of domestic abuse have been given the chance to break the cycle of abuse and start a new life free from fear. “In the past where there was no other alternative, police and partners would remove the victim and their family away from their home to a place of safety. However, under this Home Office pilot, the perpetrator is the one who has to move out of the home and who is held to account, allowing the victims to stay in their own homes rather than flee to a friend's home, or a refuge, to escape their abuser.

 “The courts can order the perpetrator not to go near the victim for up to 28 days and that allows the victim to take stock and decide where they want to be. They can get help from Victim Support Services, solicitors and other support services who can draw up a safety plan. “We know that a lot of victims suffer in silence but I would like to reassure them that we have dedicated and specially trained officers who work closely with other agencies, including Women’s Aid and Victim Support Service to ensure that victims are fully supported and given help and advice on how to stop the abuse. “So, even if you don’t feel able to tell the police what is happening, please tell someone who you can trust. Our overriding concern is for your safety and that of any children you might have.”

Councillor Suzanne Richards, lead member for women's issues at Manchester City Council, said: "Abuse victims often have to flee their own homes, sometimes taking their children with them and causing even more distress while their abusers remain in the comfort of their homes.

 "These new orders are another tool which we as partners in the City Council are using to turn this situation on its head and help protect vulnerable people, while the fact that 100 have been issued demonstrates there is a genuine need for them."

 The 12-month trial began on 1 July in Greater Manchester, Wiltshire and West Mercia. It will be evaluated by the Home Office and then it will be for Ministers to decide whether the scheme should be adopted nationally.

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