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With recent changes in the family law being made, there is now greater protection for victims and additional clamping down on perpetrators.

What Schemes are Currently in Place?

The Government currently provides victims of domestic abuse with a Domestic Abuse Protection Notice (DAPN) , which gives victims immediate protection following a domestic abuse incident. Additionally, the new Civil Domestic Abuse Protection Order provides victims with flexible, longer-term protection.

These schemes are used to protect victims of all forms of domestic abuse, including non-physical abuse and controlling and coercive behaviour.

How Has the Domestic Abuse Law Changed?

Recent changes to the Domestic Abuse Law have allowed tighter regulations to be put into place, helping to further protect victims of domestic abuse.

Actions such as non-fatal strangulation have now been made an official offence under the legislation. Additionally, controlling, or coercive behaviour offences have now been extended to include abuse where perpetrators and victims are no longer living together.

What is a Domestic Abuse Protection Order (DAPO)?

The DAPO imposes both prohibitions and positive requirements on perpetrators. This often includes prohibiting the offender from being within a specific distance of the victim and their home. This restriction can be extended to the victim’s workplace as well as third parties who have also been named.

A DAPO also requires the perpetrator to attend either a Behaviour Change Programme, an Alcohol or Substance Misuse Programme or a mental health assessment. The requirements of the DAPO can be varied by the courts, allowing the behaviours of the offender to be assessed.

Typically, the police make an application for a DAPO to a magistrates’ court. However, an alternative application route can be made. This allows victims and specified third parties to apply for a DAPO directly through the family court.

What Happens When the Order is Breached?

It is considered a criminal offence to breach any order put in place under the Domestic Abuse Protection act. If breached, a maximum penalty of up to five years imprisonment can be given. Fines are another form of punishment.

Breaches can also be dealt with as a civil contempt of court. This would mean that the victim’s views would be considered together with other issues of public interest upon deciding the appropriate sanction.

How We Can Help with Domestic Law

Many people find themselves in abusive relationships. With nearly 150 years of experience, Eaton’s are here to help and provide you with expert advice to help you through your journey.

We offer a free 30-minute consultation for victims of domestic violence in Bradford and Leeds; our experienced family lawyers are here to help you with your next steps contact us today to find out more.