What happens if you report domestic abuse?
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Today is day 15 of the 16 days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, and we’re highlighting a little about what happens if you report domestic abuse to us.
If you, or someone you know, calls us because they are concerned about domestic abuse our first priority is always the safety of the victim and any children, and to protect people there from injury or further harm.
In an emergency an officer will attend and, if proportionate, necessary and lawful to, arrest the perpetrator, and to protect you from further harm – giving you time to think.
You will speak to you away from the person responsible for the abuse and if you've been physically injured, it’s important that your injuries are examined by a doctor. We'll arrange medical care, if necessary.
We'll stay in touch throughout the whole investigation. We aim to contact you within 24 hours to let you know what’s happening. We'll also offer a dedicated phone number, so you can find out how your case is going or talk about anything that might be worrying you.
In some cases, temporary or longer-term housing alternatives may be needed or you may need an injunction to prevent the perpetrator from approaching you. You may need counselling or support. We work with a number of local organisations who can offer support and give advice over a longer period of time.
If you need to attend court for any reason there is also support available so that you don't feel overwhelmed or alienated by the legal process.
There are two steps we can take to help keep a victim safe, often done with the full support of the victim but, in serious circumstances, without if they are in imminent danger- a Domestic Violence Protection Notice (DVPN) followed by a Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO).
A DVPN is served if officers believe a person has been violent or has threatened violence against a victim, and the victim needs to be protected. It cannot be issued to someone under 18.
Once served, a DVPN is in place for up to 48 hours. It:
- prevents the perpetrator from molesting, harassing and interfering with the victim
- prevents the victim and their children from being evicted or excluded from where they live with the perpetrator
- can make the perpetrator leave the premises immediately
- prevents the perpetrator from entering the premises
- prevents the perpetrator from coming within a specified distance
A DVPO is granted by a magistrates’ court after a DVPN has been issued. Within 48 hours of serving a DVPN on a person, police are required to attend court with the DVPN and ask them to consider if it should become a DVPO.
Before granting the order, a court needs to be satisfied that the perpetrator has been violent towards, or has threatened violence towards the victim; and a DVPO is necessary to protect that person from violence or a threat of violence.
A DVPO can last between 14 and 28 days. It can contain the same or different prohibitions than that of the DVPN.
The consent and support of the victim is not needed for either a DVPN or a DVPO. The decision-making process is taken away from the victim to ensure that the cycle of abuse is broken while removing any responsibility or pressure for the victim to take action.
There is no requirement for the victim to attend court but officers will make every effort to seek the victim’s support and keep them informed. We will also offer an Independent Domestic Violence Advocate (IDVA).
When deciding to issue a DVPN, the authorising officer has to consider the opinion of the victim, any representations from the person who will receive the DVPN. the welfare of any under 18s and the opinion of anyone living at the same address (where the victim and suspect are living together). The court considers the same factors when reaching their decision for a DVPO.
Breaching a DVPN is not a criminal offence, so a perpetrator cannot be charged. Instead, they are arrested and brought before the magistrates’ court for them to consider the application for the DVPO.
If a DVPO is breached, the perpetrator is arrested and taken to court within 24 hours or kept in police custody until the next sitting. If found guilty, the perpetrator can be ordered to pay a fine of up to £5000 and/or remanded to prison for up to two months. There is no requirement for the victim to make a statement or go to court.
If you are a victim of abuse or if you have concerns about someone you can report it online here, www.derbyshire.police.uk/reportdomesticabuse or by calling 101. If you're deaf or hard of hearing, use our textphone service on 18001 101.
On social media, you can also contact us through Facebook, send us a private message to www.facebook.com/DerbyshireConstabulary or direct message our contact centre on Twitter, @DerPolContact.
In an ongoing emergency, or where life is in danger, call 999 immediately. If you're deaf or hard of hearing, use our textphone service 18000 or text us on 999 if you’ve pre-registered with the emergencySMS service. The Silent Solution can help you if speaking could put you or someone else in danger.