Proposed new domestic abuse injunctions regime fails to put ‘victims at the centre’

 

  • Joint Committee on the draft Domestic Abuse Bill recommends a thorough review of the protective measures currently available before going ahead with its proposals for Domestic Abuse Protection Orders (DAPOs)
  • Specialist charities Rights of Women and Respect share concerns that proposed scheme will be unworkable and will fail victims

Today’s publication of the report from the Joint Committee on the draft Domestic Abuse Bill raises important questions about the Government’s proposals to replace domestic violence protection orders (DVPOs) with DAPOs while leaving the existing injunction regime in place.

Both Rights of Women and Respect, who are leading charities that support survivors, provided evidence to the Committee that warned of the problems with the new DAPO scheme.

We are pleased the Committee has taken on board many of our concerns and has recommended a thorough review of the protective measures currently available before going ahead with these proposals.

Today we have published a briefing about the introduction of Domestic Abuse Protection Orders to set out clearly why, in their current form, they will not achieve the Government’s stated aim of providing additional protection for victims of domestic abuse. We agree with the Joint Committee that “the simple question which the draft Bill does not address is which organisation or organisations are to be responsible for the monitoring of positive requirements. Without this clarity, the provisions relating to this proposal may fail.”

We have made recommendations for improvements to be considered in any review based on the following key principles:

  • The voice of the victim is central to decisions about her protection.
  • IDVAs play a crucial role in advocating for victims and ensuring the appropriate support is in place.
  • Not all perpetrators are the same. What is an appropriate intervention for one may not be appropriate for someone else. Specialist assessment is necessary to ensure the right interventions are used.
  • Positive requirements should not be put in place without appropriate monitoring and reporting on the outcome of the work especially to the victim.
  • For interventions to be successful, the system must work effectively to ensure that the correct intervention is ordered, the intervention is of high quality and any action to address breaches is properly enforced.
  • IDVAs and specialist programmes must be properly resourced. 

Olive Craig, Senior Legal Officer at Rights of Women said today:

“The proposed new DAPO regime requires much more thought and resourcing to even begin to make it workable.  Domestic abuse injunctions play a critical role in providing protection for women against perpetrators. The cost of introducing a flawed scheme will be women’s safety; we urge the Government to rethink their approach.”

Jo Todd, CEO of Respect said today:

“Whilst we are pleased that the government is focusing on perpetrators, we are concerned that the proposed DAPO measures have not been sufficiently thought through and instead of protecting victims of domestic abuse might actually make things worse.  We hope to be able to work with the government and our partners in the sector to ensure that any scheme is safe, effective and accountable.”

Read the briefing here.

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