New domestic violence powers 'will help police save lives'

New domestic violence powers 'will help police save lives'

New domestic violence powers 'will help police save lives'

First published in News Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Crime Reporter

POLICE on a mission to crack down on domestic violence in Hampshire have been armed with new powers that they believe will save the lives of those most at risk.

From today Hampshire Police can use new civil powers that can help them protect the victims of domestic violence by forcing the abuser to stay away for up to 28 days.

Officers can apply for the Domestic Violence Protection Notices and Orders without the victim’s consent and without having to wait for cases to go through the courts.

So far a pilot in the western area of the force over the past month has seen officer use six notices and successfully apply for six orders.

These new notices can be used in the aftermath of certain domestic violence incidents and can prevent someone from contacting their partner for 48 hours.

If needed police can then apply for an order from a magistrates court, which can extend the same protection for between 14 and 28 days.

Superintendent Ben Snuggs, who is the constabulary’s lead on domestic abuse, believes these new powers will help to save lives.

He said: “We’ve seen some really great results. For example, in situations that we’ve not been able to progress through the criminal courts because there’s not been sufficient evidence, we’ve still been able to do something positive to keep victims safe.

“And that’s what this scheme is about. It’s an additional power that in the right circumstances works to protect victims of crime.”

It comes just weeks after the force launched a major crackdown on domestic violence during the World Cup after the last tournament saw cases soar.

The World Cup in 2010 saw reports of violence in the household rise by 27 per cent. Officers are urging victims not to let their abusers get away with it, just because their team has lost. As a result, for the first time this year, domestic abuse workers will go with officers to any reported incidents offering help and advice to victims.

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Supt Snuggs added: “The new powers enable us and the courts to create valuable breathing space for victims. We know that those at risk of domestic violence often find it very difficult to report it so it’s important that we take steps to protect them when they do.

“The notices and orders give them that added assurance and take the responsibility for doing something away from the victim because, in the right circumstances, they can be imposed without the victim’s consent.”

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