"Exploring the impact of Domestic Violence Protection Notices on victims and perpetrators of domestic violence."
1.28 MB, PDF document
- Domestic Abuse, DVPO, DVPN, Domestic Abuse Research, North Wales DVPN
Domestic abuse (DA) was once deemed a taboo subject and, historically, was often dismissed by society and the criminal justice system as a man’s right to discipline his ‘wayward’ wife. In the past, police rarely intervened in domestic incidents, arguing that they were a ‘private’ matter and did not require a formal response (Bard & Zacker, 1971; Klinger, 1995). However, societal values and the criminal justice systems response to domestic violence have changed over time. DA is now viewed, for the most part, as an abhorrent and illegal act, regardless of whether the perpetrator is male or female. Police forces across the UK implemented a new way of tackling domestic violence in 2014; the Domestic Violence Protection Notice/Order (DVPN/O). This legislation allows for victims to be safeguarded and protected in domestic incidents where there would otherwise be insufficient evidence for a criminal charge such as battery, actual bodily harm (ABH) or grievous bodily harm (GBH). The notice gives the police the power to remove the suspected perpetrator from the home for 48 hours whilst the applying to the Magistrate’s Courts for an order to be passed which prohibits them from contacting the victim directly or indirectly for up to 28 days. In this study, I draw upon a mix methods approach to examine the impact of the DVPN/Os on victims and perpetrators of DA. Additionally, I explore the views and experiences of North Wales Police (NWP) professionals who use this order to safeguard victims when there is not enough evidence to present at court for a criminal charge. The study also explores the effectiveness of the after-care provided by NWP and third sector agencies to both victims and perpetrators of DA, as well as giving consideration to how police culture can affect the way victims are treated by the police. The views, opinions and recommendations of the participants coincide with the proposed legislative change for 2021, to ensure a more monitored approach to dealing with perpetrators of DA. The new legislation would also raise the DVPO process from a civil to a criminal offence. The findings from this study suggest that the initial civil sanctions placed upon perpetrators of DA are not sufficient in preventing further abuse, and can often lead to subsequent breaches of the DVPO. There is a lack of clear sentencing guidelines which directly affects the severity of the penalty imposed by the Magistrates Court. As discussed in this research, this had often led to a sense of the DVPO being just ‘a slap on the wrist’. The findings also highlighted an issue with regards to whom the responsibility of welfare checks should fall upon, as currently NWP have no legal obligation to carry out such checks on neither the victim nor the perpetrator of DA.