With effect from 8 March, by virtue of the enactment of the Crime and Security Act 2010 (Commencement No. 7) Order 2014/478, police officers across England and Wales of the superintendent or above can now issue a Domestic Violence Protection Notices (DVPN) under s.24 Crime and Security Act 2010. A DVPN can be issued to a person over 18 if that officer has reasonable grounds for believing that:
- the person “has been violent towards, or has threatened violence towards, an associated person,” i.e. person falling within the categories of associated person defined by s.62 Family Law Act 1996, which includes children, spouses, cohabitants, members of the same household (otherwise merely by reason of one of them being the other's employee, tenant, lodger or boarder); and that
- the DVPN is necessary to protect that person from violence or a threat of violence. Such anotice can be issued even if the vulnerable adult does not agree.
A DVPN prohibits the suspected perpetrator from molesting the victim and, where they cohabit, may require the suspected perpetrator to leave those premises. The issue of a DVPN triggers an application for a Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO). This is a court order (issued by the magistrates’ court) lasting between 14 and 28 days, which prohibits the perpetrator from molesting the victim and may also make provision about access to shared accommodation. The magistrates’ court must hear the application within 48 hours to limit the length of time for which the suspected perpetrator can be excluded from his home without the chance to defend himself.
We would suggest that such notices and orders may provide an additional tool that may be of assistance for local authorities seeking to protect vulnerable adults who fall outside the scope of the MCA 2005.