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Police extend pilot after domestic violence order success
9:46am Friday 8th June 2012 in Wiltshire
Wiltshire Police is extending the Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO) pilot.
The force will continue with the pilot, alongside West Mercia and Greater Manchester Police, beyond the end of this month, after its success in helping victims of domestic violence.
From July 2011 to the end of May this year, the force issued 121 DVPOs which ensured that perpetrators were banned from molesting a victim, or going near their home, for up to 28 days.
The orders have been successful in helping victims begin to regain control of their lives, with some reporting that it gave them the time and space to seek legal advice and contact organisations for help and support.
Others have said that the removal of the perpetrator has reduced the stress levels of both themselves and their children.
At the end of this month, the results of the first year of the pilot will be evaluated by researchers working on behalf of the Home Office.
Wiltshire Police and the two other forces taking part will continue the scheme until the research is complete and it has been decided whether or not a change in the law will be recommended.
Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Carr, of Wiltshire Police’s Public Protection Department, said: "Wiltshire Police remains committed to supporting victims and targeting the perpetrators of domestic abuse and we are therefore pleased to be given the opportunity to continue the DVPO pilot.
"Domestic abuse can take many forms including physical, mental and verbal abuse.
"It’s important for victims to realise that it’s not their fault and to seek help whether it be through the police or another organisation.
"I can reassure anyone wishing to report domestic abuse that all information we receive is treated in the strictest of confidence and our specially trained officers will be able to provide you with the appropriate help and support.
"DVPOs are unique in that they can be issued on the basis that officers are concerned about violent and/or abusive behaviour but do not have enough evidence for a prosecution.
"We have heard from many victims that the orders have given them the space they need to seek advice and consider whether they want to continue in that relationship.
"I hope the extension of this pilot will help raise awareness of domestic abuse and that we are able to protect more victims of this often hidden crime.”
When officers are called to a domestic abuse incident, their priority is to ensure that everyone at the address is safe. Some officers are now equipped with body-worn video cameras to record the scene.
Sometimes there may not be enough evidence to charge the perpetrator with a criminal offence.
But if, on the balance of probabilities, a superintendent concludes that the victim is at risk of further violence, he or she can authorise a Domestic Violence Protection Notice (DVPN).
A DVPN excludes the perpetrator from the address, or from approaching or molesting the victim, for 48 hours.
Officers then seek a Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO) from magistrates. DVPOs can be issued for 14, 21 or 28 days.