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Manchester police launch scheme to protect victims of domestic violence

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Sarah Graham
WVoN co-editor

Police across Greater Manchester in England have launched a scheme which extends their powers to protect victims of domestic violence from their abusers.

The new Domestic Violence Protection Orders  (DVPO) allow police to bar violent partners from their homes, and to ban abusers from contacting their victims.

Detective Superintendent Phil Owen said: “Nationally two women a week die due to domestic abuse and our aim is to reduce the harm caused by domestic abuse and help victims regain control of their lives.”

The DVPO scheme came into effect across Greater Manchester on Monday after being piloted over the last 12 months in conjunction with Wiltshire and West Mercia police forces.

During this one-year period more than 180 of the orders were issued in north and south Manchester, Oldham, Salford and Bolton.

Prior to the introduction of the DVPOs only abusers arrested and charged with an offence could be forced to leave their home.

Police are now able to act against anyone they believe to be a risk, enabling them greater power to intervene quickly when they are concerned about violent behaviour.

Those issued with a DVPO can be banned from their home for up to 28 days, allowing victims more time, space and support to seek safety from within their own home, rather than being forced to flee to a refuge.

Victims considering their options will be offered support from case workers, and abusers may also choose to attend a voluntary offenders’ programme.

Sarah Summers, whose sister Katie was murdered by her boyfriend, told This Is Lancashire why she welcomed the scheme:

“One of the problems is as soon as police leave an address the offenders come back.

“The police need to be able to give victims more time to realise that they can cope on their own and get the help and support needed.”

Det. Supt. Owen added: “Everyone has a right to feel safe in their homes and have a future without fear.”

A court hearing will decide the duration of each DVPO (between 14 and 28 days) no more than two days after the order is issued. Breaching the order will be punishable by a prison sentence of up to six weeks.

The Domestic Violence Protection Orders will now be trialled across the rest of the country for 12 months.

Those affected by domestic violence in the Greater Manchester area can contact the Greater Manchester Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0161 636 7525.

Elsewhere in the UK, contact the National Domestic Violence Helpline, open 24 hours a day, on 0808 2000 247.

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