What Are Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPOs) & Notices (DVPNs)?
These orders and notices were introduced from 8 March 2014 under Sections 24-33 Crime and Security Act 2010 (CSA 2010).
These provisions give police the power to issue a domestic violence protection notice (DVPN) to an alleged perpetrator of domestic violence, and the power for a magistrates’ court, on an application by the police, to make a domestic violence protection order (DVPO).
What are Domestic Violence Protection Notice (DVPNs)?
These can be issued by the police following allegations of domestic violence where the alleged perpetrator has not been charged and bail conditions cannot provide protection. It was thought there was a ‘protective gap’ for alleged victims of domestic violence before the point of charge and these notices and orders provide the emergency filler. They are now used in many cases were the police have insufficient evidence to charge or victims have refused to give formal statements to police.
They offer emergency protection for the alleged victim as they can be issued by the police and have immediate effect. In theory they allow the alleged victim the safety to seek help and the time to make informed decisions about their own safety.
When can DVPN be issued?
In order to impose a DVPN an authorising officer (ranked superintendent or above) has to have a reasonable belief that violence has been used or threatened towards the associated person and that it is necessary to protect that person from violence or the threat of violence.
An associated person includes those persons who:
- are married or have been married, people who are or have been civil partners, people who have been in a intimate relationship which is or was a significant duration;
- are cohabitants or former cohabitants;
- live or have lived in the same household, otherwise than merely by reason of one of them being the other’s employee, tenant, lodger or boarder;
- are relatives;
- have agreed to marry one another (whether or not that agreement has been terminated);
- in relation to any child, are either a parent or have parental responsibility for a child.
The associated person does not need to seek the order or consent to it.
A DVPN can only be served upon a perpetrator 18 years or older.
What must the police consider before issuing a DVPN?
- The welfare of any person under the age of 18 years whose interests the officer considers relevant to the issuing of the DVPN (whether or not that person is an associated person).
- The opinion of the person, for whose protection the DVPN would be issued, as to the issuing of the DVPN .
- Any representations made by you or your legal representative as to the issuing of the DVPN.
What are DVPNs?
A DVPN is an emergency non-molestation and eviction notice which can be issued by the police.
A DVPN prohibits molesting of the victim and forces the alleged perpetrator to leave the property for 48 hours.
Once a DVPN is served, police will then make an application to the Magistrates Court for a Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO) to be put in place. This listing will be made within 24 hours of the DVPN being issued.
Any DVPN will remain in force until a Magistrates Court has finished considering the full DVPO application.
When can the Magistrates court impose a DVPO and what is it?
A DVPO is a civil order made in a Magistrates Court on application by the police or authorised person.
The court may make a DVPO if (the same two conditions are met as when an officer issues a DVPN):
- The court is satisfied that the perpetrator has been violent towards, or has threatened violence towards, an associated person.
- The court thinks that making the DVPO is necessary to protect that person from violence or a threat of violence by the perpetrator.
A DVPO can prevent the perpetrator from returning to a residence and from having contact with the victim for up to 28 days.
DVPNs and DVPOs can be imposed when the civil standard of proof, ‘on a balance of probabilities’ is met rather than on the higher criminal standard ‘beyond all reasonable doubt’.
Breach of a DVPN / DVPO
If you breach a DVPN the Police have the power to arrest you and bring you before the Magistrates’ Court within 24 hours, at which point the application for a DVPO will be heard.
A constable may arrest the perpetrator without warrant if the constable has reasonable grounds for believing that the perpetrator is in breach of the DVPN or DVPO. Section 29(1) provides a power of arrest and a duty to remand in custody and bring the perpetrator before a magistrates’ court within 24 hours from the time of arrest.
At court breaches may be accepted or opposed. In the latter case the Magistrate Court would hear evidence form the police of the alleged breach and representations by the perpetrator or perpetrators legal representative before ruling on a balance of probabilities if a breach took place.
Enforcement of a DVPO
A breach of a DVPO is a civil breach of a court order under section 63 of the Magistrates Court Act. The penalty for a breach of a civil order is £50 for every day that the person is in default of the order, upto a maximum of £5000 or the court can send an individual to prison for up to 2 months. Alternatively the court could choose to take no action at all.
A breach of a DVPO is a criminal offence.
Any breaches of this civil order appear before the Magistrates Court.
Appealing a DVPO/ DVPN?
There is no mechanism to appeal, vary or revoke a DVPN / DVPO once made. However once the DVPO period finishes the order expires.
How can Hodge Jones & Allen help?
Our solicitors deal with clients challenging DVPN and DVPO on a regular basis.
Representations can be made on your behalf at the police station to avoid any such order being put in place or vary terms before made.
Should you be issued with a DVPN representation can be sought to represent you in the Magistrates Court hearing that follows for the court to consider a full DVPO. Your representations may led to applications being varied by length, conditions or the court may even refuse the DVPO and the DVPN then becomes void.
Legal aid may be available to oppose the full DVPO however this would be subject to the means tests. Alternatively clients may choose to fund representation privately at any stage. It is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible.