NI: Consultation seeks views on domestic abuse protection notices and orders

NI: Consultation seeks views on domestic abuse protection notices and orders

Naomi Long

Proposals to introduce new domestic abuse protection notices and orders (DAPNs and DAPOs) in Northern Ireland have been set out in a new consultation document.

The new mechanisms are being proposed as a replacement for the domestic violence protection notices and orders (DVPNs and DVPOs) which were introduced under section 97 of the Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 2015 but never implemented.

Speaking on the launch of the consultation, Justice Minister Naomi Long said: “We know all too well that victims of domestic abuse can live in fear of their partner. For many home is not a safe place.

“To further address this, in addition to the new domestic abuse offence contained within my department’s Domestic Abuse and Family Proceedings Bill, I am now bringing forward our proposals to introduce new domestic abuse protection notices, which will be given by the police.

“These aim to deliver immediate short-term protection from all forms of domestic abuse, whether physical or non-physical, and will last for a number of days. Following this, longer term protection could be granted through a court provided domestic abuse protection order.”

Protection notices and orders are intended to ensure that action can be taken to address situations where an individual is being abused, or there is a risk of abusive behaviour. They won’t require the victim to take action, should they not wish to. Under the proposed arrangements this could be done by the police and courts as part of proceedings or on application.

The new notices and orders could require that an alleged perpetrator does not contact the victim; does not come within a certain distance or to their home; does not enter their home; or require them to leave the victim’s home. In the longer term, provision could be made that these orders could include positive requirements to address abusive behaviour.

The consultation, now available online, will run for 10 weeks from Monday 7 December to Friday 12 February 2021.

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