The Introduction of Domestic Abuse Protection Notices and Domestic Abuse Protection Orders

News  |   12 June 2024

Written by
Gina Green, Solicitor

Recent changes to the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 have resulted in the introduction of Domestic Abuse Protection Notices (DAPNs ) and Domestic Abuse Protection Orders (DAPOs) as a pilot scheme in certain areas of the UK. The reason for this change is to provide more protection to victims of domestic abuse. We explain the changes to the current process and the impact this will have.

The changes give the police the ability to issue a DAPN following a domestic abuse incident. The purpose of this notice is to provide instant protection to the victim, this can be achieved by banning the perpetrator from their home for 48 hours.

Currently, the police are able to apply to the Magistrates’ court for a Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO), the same will apply to the DAPOs which have now replaced DVPOs. However, the process of obtaining a DAPO will go one step further and will allow victims to apply to the family court for this order. Criminal, family and civil courts will also be permitted to make a DAPO in proceedings that are already before the court, regardless of whether those proceedings are related to domestic abuse.

DAPOs can impose restrictions on the perpetrator to prevent them from entering the vicinity of the victim’s home or place of work. They can ensure that the perpetrator attends certain programmes relating to alcohol or substance abuse or require them to undergo a mental health assessment. The order can be consistently reviewed in line with the perpetrators behaviour and varied if necessary. The new legislation also allows the courts to use electronic tags to monitor the perpetrator’s behaviour.

If a perpetrator is found to be in breach of the DAPO, this is a criminal offence. This could result in the perpetrator being fined and/or imprisoned for up to five years.

The hope is that DAPNs and DAPOs will provide greater protection for victims of domestic abuse. The pilot scheme will be reviewed and if it is proven to be successful, DAPNs and DAPOs will be introduced throughout the UK.

If you are experiencing domestic abuse and/or require assistance securing protective injunctions, please contact our family law specialists who can advise you and guide you through the process. Call us on 020 8290 0440.

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