On 6th June, Devon and Cornwall Constabulary, along with all other Police Forces in England and Wales will have additional new powers to protect individuals believed to be victims of domestic violence.
A Domestic Violence Protection Notice (“DVPN”) may be issued by an authorised Police Superintendent which sets out prohibitions that, in effect, bar a suspected perpetrator from returning to a victim’s home and/or contacting the victim.
Following the issue of the DVPN the Police must apply to the Magistrates for a Domestic Violence Prevention Order (“DVPO”). If the required conditions are met the DVPO will be granted.
The DVPN and DVPO are not criminal orders and do not form part of any criminal history for the alleged offender. Alleged offenders still have access to legal advice at the Police Station* and at Court* via the Duty Solicitor Scheme or having made prior arrangements for legal representation.
The reason for these new powers for the Police is to enable a period of reflection and enable parties to get help, advice and guidance.
The Orders will last for a maximum for 28 days. Breaches are dealt with as if a breach of bail but the DVPO is not extendable past the maximum 28 day period.
As part of the additional support a victim may need, the Legal Aid Agency have widened their criteria for evidence which may be provided to support an application for Legal Aid to include the DVPN’s and DVPO’s.
To find out more about your rights to legal aid visit our legal aid calculator.
*2010 Standard Crime Contract holder
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