Solicitors in Milton Keynes - Family Law, Motoring Law, Domestic Violence

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new weapon introduced into the criminal justice system’s armoury against domestic violence

On 30th June 2011 a new weapon was introduced into the criminal justice system’s armoury against domestic violence. It will be piloted for a year by 3 police forces across the country. Up until 30th June 2012 officers in Greater Manchester, West Mercia and Wiltshire police forces will be able to apply to senior officers who hold the rank of Superintendant or above for Domestic Violence Protection Notices, or “Go Orders”. The Notice, when served on the alleged perpetrator, will act as a summons requiring him/her to attend at the nearest Specialist Domestic Violence Court within the next 48 hours, so that Magistrates can give consideration to whether or not a Domestic Violence Protection Order should be granted for a period of up to 28 days. The Notices and Orders are aimed at offenders who present an ongoing risk of violence or threat of violence to named “Associated Persons”, but who cannot be charged and conditionally bailed or remanded in custody.

A Notice/Order may prevent a perpetrator from returning to the family home or from otherwise contacting his alleged victim for example. The current family law domestic violence provisions remain unchanged, but one advantage of the new provisions over them is that it is the police who apply for the Orders, rather than the victim. Also the victim’s consent is not required, thereby relieving him/her of any social or cultural pressure which might be felt by having to apply for the Order. There obviously needs to be sufficient evidence for an Order to be granted, but victims will not be required to give verbal evidence or be subjected to cross examination. This will, to an extent, redress the slight bias in favour of the perpetrator which the current adversarial system permits. Magistrates will decide on the balance of probabilities whether or not to grant the Order and breaches will render the perpetrator liable to arrest without warrant, and a fine of up to £5000 or a maximum of 2 months custody. For further information see sections 22 – 33 of Crime and Security Act 2010 or go to

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