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In March 2016, the Home Office, published its 2016-20 Violence against Women and Girls strategy.
Following this, the Government stated that they would dedicate £80 million funding, to provide core support to refuges and other accommodation-based services. This money was also intended for rape support centres and national helplines.
In the spring budget of 2017, a further £20 million was announced to be included towards the initial figure.
In March 2018, the Government launched a consultation, asking for “views on both legislative proposals for a landmark draft Domestic Abuse Bill and a package of practical action”. The Government aims for Domestic Abuse legislation to be appropriate for our communities today and following this consultation, several proposals were made. One such proposal was for new legislation to be used by the Police called DAPN (Domestic Abuse Protection Notices). These Notices are taken to court, solely by the Police and a Judge will decide if a Domestic Abuse Protection Order (DAPO) is necessary to protect the victim according to the evidence provided by the Police.
The criminal justice system places a huge amount of responsibility on victims of abuse, to stand before a court and describe the traumatic ordeal they have endured at the hands of their abuser. This can and is a huge barrier for victims making and maintaining reports of abuse to the police.
When a person has been manipulated, groomed, verbally abused, physically harmed, sexually abused and psychologically scarred, where do victims get the strength to stand against their abusers?
West Yorkshire Police are currently using DAPN and DAPO’s to safeguarding victims of domestic abuse.
These orders take the responsibility of reporting away from a victim, whilst providing criminal sanctions that can be acted upon by officers, should an order be breached.
Currently, these orders can only be granted for a maximum of 28 days and professionals struggle with this limitation. It can take a long time for a person to exert power and control over another person and therefore, it will inevitably take a long period of time for a victim of abuse to break each bond with their abuser. However, the Government has substantially cut funding to charitable agencies who could provide this much needed support as 28 days is not enough for professionals to assist victims to break these bonds.
When the order therefore expires and the perpetrator can return to the life of the victim, there has been little chance for support workers to build a strong, reliable relationship with a victim. This can leave victims feeling exposed, confused and guilty speaking to others about their relationship. These are the elements that keep victims in long-standing abusive relationships.
During the consultation, it was proposed that these orders should be changed to include:
1) Flexible time periods for orders and not just at the current 28 day limit.
2) Allowing these orders to apply to cases involving abuse other than violence or threats of violence.
Here at Ramsdens, our Family team understand how difficult it is to start the conversation breaking the cycle of abuse; but it could just be the beginning of the end. Our solicitors help victims of Domestic Abuse get court orders, giving them protection from further violence or threats of violence. For further discussion about your situation, Contact us confidentially via our family helpline on 00800 147720, send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org or text LAW to 67777 to book a free consultation at any of our offices.