The policing minister has been urged to ensure funds are available to help Northumbria build on tough new domestic violence powers.
Northumbria Police commissioner Vera Baird has welcomed the introduction of new Domestic Violence Control orders allowing police to kick out abusive partners from their home for at least 48 hours.
Mrs Baird has already piloted a tougher approach to tackling domestic violence, with a scheme in Wearside aimed at ensuring volunteer’s from women’s shelters are brought to scenes of domestic violence to offer help.
The commissioner yesterday said she would be telling policing minister Damian Green that there was little point in handing over new powers if the cost of keeping women and other domestic violence sufferers safe was not met.
Northumbria Police, like other forces across the country, lost some of its funding, with the cash going into a national pot that the force must now bid for funds from.
Speaking in Newcastle today, Mrs Baird told the launch event the powers allowed police the chance to get help to victims if they thought there was a threat of domestic violence.
She added: “These powers allow police to take immediate action to ban a suspected perpetrator from the victim’s address for 48 hours.
“This can be done with or without the consent of the victim, thus removing the need for what can be a very difficult decision for the victim – whether to make a complaint against someone they may love and have children with.
“This breathing space not only gives the victim the reassurance that they are safe, but also allows them the time to consider their options and get access to support services without pressure from the perpetrator.”
There are two stages to the new powers. The first stage allows officers to produce a Domestic Violence Protection Notice. If police believe a perpetrator has used or threatened violence towards a victim and the victim is at risk, they can issue the notice on the spot, provided they have the authorisation of an officer at superintendent rank. This prevents the suspected offender returning to the address for 48-hours.
At the second stage the Magistrates’ Court must hear a case for a prevention order within 48 hours of the notice being made. If granted, the order may last between a minimum of 14 days and a maximum of 28 days, extending the ban.
Mr Green said: “Domestic violence is a terrible form of abuse and the Government is working hard to provide police and local authorities with the tools they need to stop this inexcusable crime. Domestic Violence Protection Orders are designed to hand control back to the victim by ensuring they can consider their options in the immediate aftermath of a domestic violence incident.
“It is one of a raft of measures introduced by this Government to help stamp out violence against women and girls and an important step in doing better by victims.”