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08 April 2024

New pilot on Domestic Abuse Protection Orders

4 mins

A new pilot for Domestic Abuse Protection Notices (DAPNs) and Orders (DAPOs) was introduced today, Monday 8 April 2024. The pilot is expected to continue for two years and will then be independently evaluated ahead of an expected national roll-out. DAPNs and DAPOs will be piloted in Gwent, Greater Manchester, and three London boroughs (Bromley, Croydon and Sutton). The pilot will test whether the new orders are successful in meeting their intended aims.

The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 Part 3 introduces Domestic Abuse Protection Notices and Orders as a new measure to protect victims from all forms of abuse, including non-physical abuse and controlling and coercive behaviour.

As it stands, there are a range of other protective orders available for victims of domestic abuse, including Non-Molestation Orders, Occupation Orders, Restraining Orders, Domestic Violence Protection Notices and Domestic Violence Protection Orders. However, there is no singular measure that can be used across family, civil and criminal courts, causing confusion for survivors.

A core aim of Domestic Abuse Protection Orders is to provide a singular measure that can be recognised and enforced in each court. If implemented nationally after the pilot, Domestic Abuse Protection Orders will repeal Domestic Violence Protection Orders, but the other protective orders outlined above will still be available.

What is a Domestic Abuse Protection Notice / Order?

A Domestic Abuse Protection Notice (DAPN) enables victims of domestic abuse to obtain protective measures in the immediate aftermath of a domestic abuse incident. A DAPN can be issued when authorised by a senior police officer and imposes restrictions or requirements on a perpetrator, for example to leave the victims house for 48 hours. The police can then apply to the Magistrates Court for a Domestic Abuse Protection Order (DAPO).

There are other routes for obtaining a Domestic Abuse Protection Order. A victim of domestic abuse, or certain third parties can apply through the family court for an order. Alternatively, the family, criminal, or civil courts can make a DAPO on their own accord within existing court proceedings, even if they are not domestic abuse related.

There are a range of protective measures that can be tailored to each situation including:

  • Preventing the perpetrator from coming within a certain distance from the victim’s home;
  • Preventing the perpetrator from coming within a certain distance from another relevant place e.g. the victim’s place of work;
  • Requiring the perpetrator to attend a behaviour change programme;
  • Requiring the perpetrator to attend a drug or alcohol misuse programme;
  • Requiring the perpetrator to undertake a mental health assessment.

The courts have the power to use electronic tagging to ensure the perpetrator is complying with the terms of the order. Breach of a DAPO is a criminal offence, punishable by a maximum of 5 years imprisonment, a fine, or both.

Who are DAPNs and DAPOs for?

DAPNs and DAPOs are available for victim survivors of all types of domestic abuse. This can include physical abuse, psychological abuse, financial abuse, controlling and coercive behaviour. Before making an order, the court must be satisfied that it is necessary and proportionate to protect the victim from domestic abuse or risk of domestic abuse.

How can I apply?

Victims of domestic abuse, or in some situations third parties can apply through the family court for a DAPO. In order to make the orders more accessible, there is no associated fee. In certain situations, you may be entitled to legal aid for legal representation on a means and merits tested basis.

How we can help

If you are suffering, or at risk of suffering from domestic abuse and are looking for advice on what protective measures are available to you, please do get in touch with our team of experienced accredited solicitors.

For more information, please visit our Domestic Abuse and Family Law services.

How can we help you?

We are here to help. If you have any questions for us, please get in touch below.