Over 130 DVPO applications made

07 Jan 2015 16:20 PM

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Northumbria Police has made over 130 applications as part of a scheme to help victims of domestic violence to safety.

A total of 136 Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO) applications have been made since their introduction, 78% of which have been substantiated and granted by the court meaning more victims are receiving the protection and support they need.

The Newcastle area has seen the most applications, followed by Northumberland and Gateshead. An average of around eight to 12 are made each month.

The new national DVPO powers were launched locally last June by Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird, alongside her counterpart PCCs Ron Hogg from Durham Constabulary and Barry Coppinger, Cleveland Police.

They were introduced to fill a gap and enable police and magistrates to put protection in place in the immediate aftermath of a domestic violence incident.

They can ban a perpetrator, with immediate effect, from returning to a residence and having contact with the victim for up to 28-days, allowing the victim time to consider their options and get the support they need.

There are two stages to the power. The first allows officers to produce a Domestic Violence Prevention Notice (DVPN). If they believe a perpetrator has used or threatened violence towards a victim and the victim is at risk, a DVPN can be issued on the spot with a Superintendent's authorisation. This prevents the suspected offender returning to the address for 48-hours.

In the second stage, the magistrates' court must hear a case for a DVPO within 48-hours of the DVPN being made. If granted, the order can last between a minimum of 14-days and a maximum of 28-days.

It also gives officers the opportunity to provide victims with contacts of other organisations and people who can help them to cope and recover.

The DVPO figures come as the Northumbria Police campaign 'Children can learn by example' continues. It aims to tackle all forms of domestic abuse and focuses on the affects it has on children who witness it.

Detective Superintendent Lisa Orchard said: "Northumbria Police already has good practices in place to help protect victims and prevent domestic violence. These new powers are a useful tool for officers to use after exhausting all other avenues to stop further abuse, threats and violence to the victim. This is not a replacement for arresting a perpetrator, it can be used alongside arrest powers.

"Often victims are too frightened to report their abuse, especially when officers arrive at the door. These powers allow police to remove the suspected offender from the property for a minimum of 48-hours, giving the victim time and space from the offender, but also the opportunity to interact with services and be offered the relevant support.

"Northumbria Police always takes positive action against domestic violence perpetrators. This gives officers another option at their disposal to safeguard victims and deal with offenders."

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird added: "I'm pleased this crucial power is being used by officers to provide vulnerable domestic violence victims with the protection they need to stay safe.

"DVPOs allow police to take immediate action to ban a suspected perpetrator from the victim’s address for 48 hours and because this can be done with or without the victim's consent, it removes the need for what can be a very difficult decision for the victim –  to make a complaint against the person they may love and have children with.

"This provides the victim with much needed breathing space and reassurance that they are safe, while at the same time giving them the chance to consider their next move and contact the support services they have been directed to by the police without being pressured by the perpetrator."

Anyone suffering abuse can call 0800 066 5555 for independent and confidential advice.

To change abusive behaviour, call Respect on 0808 802 4040.

In an emergency, call 999 or to speak to your local Neighbourhood Policing Team call 101, extension 69191.

View the full news release