A Domestic Violence Protection Notice is served on a person by the police. To see the problem that arises you simply need to read the guidance that the police give as to the way in which these are dealt with by them. The police talk about Domestic Violence Protection Notices in terms of perpetrators and victims. They assume a black and white, good and bad scenario. If the officer comes across such an incident then the officer will be assisted by this new power. However, what an officer is more likely to come across is allegation and cross allegation. The officer might feel under pressure to make use of this power which means the officer is forced into the position of being investigator, jury and judge.
This is not something that a police officer is trained to be, it is not a status that the Criminal Justice System should encourage.
However, the number of times this power is going to be used will be limited by two very important features. Firstly, the decision has to be made by a Superintendant or above. There are rules about having to speak to the parties. Secondly, if there is a disputed hearing in the magistrates’ court it will cost the police £700 in fees.
The test for the officer to apply is whether the individual is aged over 17 and they believe has been violent or threatened violence against another person and that person needs protecting, then the officer can serve a Domestic Violence Protection Notice on the ‘perpetrator’ and thereby produce for that person a serious criminal record. At this stage if the ‘victim’ does not want the Domestic Violence Protection Notice to be served, it matters not. The officer decides. Forget the claim these are civil proceedings and therefore a criminal record does not flow. It will act just like a conviction if every an enhanced criminal records bureau check is carried out. You might also want to consider the impact on your ability to travel to certain countries if this is on your record.
The immediate impact of the Domestic Violence Protection Notice can include:
- stopping the person from entering or being within a certain distance of the home
- stopping the person from making the other leave the home
- require the person to leave the home
If both live at the same address the person is required to leave straight away although they should be allowed to take with them possessions they may need. No doubt there will be a rush to clear and joint bank account in the morning so that one of the parties is then without any money to cover living expenses.
Prior to leaving the premises the police will try to obtain an address and telephone number for the person leaving in case they need to be in touch within the following 48 hours. Refusal to give the details might be taken by the police as an indication of possible further incidents so they may decide to arrest instead. This is important as the police have to arrange a hearing in the magistrates’ court within 48 hours. If they cannot tell you where and when the hearing will take place then the magistrates can go ahead and find against you in your absence.
If a Domestic Violence Protection Notice is breached then the person will be subject to arrest and be taken before the Magistrates within 24 hours.
In any event within 48 hours the police should present the Domestic Violence Protection Notice to the magistrates who then decide whether the Domestic Violence Protection Notice should be continued as a Domestic Violence Protection Order that will then continue for 2 – 4 weeks. Contact us quickly.