In this blog addressing Domestic Abuse and protections available to victims, we consider Protection Notices and Protection Orders.
If you are a victim of domestic abuse there are a number of protective orders available to you such as a Non-Molestation Order, an Occupation Order, a Restraining Order and a Domestic Violence Protection Notice (DVPN). These orders vary in the protection they offer, who can apply for them and the consequences of a breach.
A DVPN is a civil order that can be applied for by the police to give immediate protection to a victim in the aftermath of a domestic violence incident. As a result of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021, a DVPN will soon be replaced by a Domestic Abuse Protection Notice (DAPN) and a Domestic Abuse Protection Order (DAPO).
A DAPN and a DAPO will protect victims from all forms of domestic abuse, including non-physical abuse and controlling or coercive behaviour, as well as forcing perpetrators to take positive steps to change their behaviour e.g. accessing mental health support.
A DAPN will give immediate protection to a victim following an incident and a DAPO will provide longer-term protection where necessary and proportionate. In practice this could work in the following way; a senior police officer can issue a DAPN to an abuser requiring them to leave the family home for a period of 48 hours, within that 48 hours the police officer must make an application to court for a DAPO to deal with the longer term requirement for them to be away from the family home. Any breach of the notice will lead to arrest of the perpetrator where they will be brought before the court to deal with the application of a DAPO. Breach of a DAPO is a criminal offence and can lead to imprisonment and/or a fine.
A DAPO can also be applied for directly to the family court by the victim and specified third parties. Further, it is open to the criminal, civil and family court to make a DAPO of their own volition within the course of existing proceedings.
At present, DAPNs and DAPOs are being tested in a select area of England and Wales to ensure that they will be successful in achieving policy aims. It is hoped that a DAPN and a DAPO will provide more effective protection than the existing orders available (Occupation orders, Non-Molestation Orders, Restraining Orders) and should, in the future, be the ‘go-to’ protective order in cases of domestic abuse.
If you need any help or guidance in respect of the issues raised in this blog, please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your situation in confidence.