By Daily Mail Reporter
Domestic violence suspects to be banned from their own home for a month under new powers
Domestic violence suspects could be banned from their own homes for up to a month under new powers being tested in Greater Manchester.
It is hoped the new plan will give police the ability to prevent deaths like that of Claire Wood who was killed by her ex, George Appleton, in Manchester.
Police will be able to act if they can show they have ‘reasonable grounds’ – even if the alleged victim does not wish to complain.
Officers will be able to get Domestic Violence Protection Orders from the courts, which can ban suspected abusers from specified addresses – including their own homes – for as long as four weeks.
The scheme is intended to give victims time to get help and support, and decide whether they want to give evidence against their attacker.
The orders, which can be made against suspects of either sex, cost £200 each if uncontested or £700 if the alleged attacker pleads their case. Any breach would be considered a criminal act and could be punished with jail.
Greater Manchester Police will operate the scheme in three divisions – south Manchester, Metropolitan, and Oldham. If successful, it is set to be rolled out across the country.
Officers say the orders are necessary to tackle the huge number of cases that go unreported because of fear of reprisal.
In the last 12 months, there have been 65,915 reports of domestic violence across the region – but GMP believe the scale of the problem is actually far greater.
Assistant Chief Constable Terry Sweeney said: ‘This will give victims vital time to consider their options in safety.
‘If abusers breach the orders we can arrest them and they can be jailed. It provides us with a control measure and gives the victim a chance to get access to proper support and advice.
‘A home-link alarm would be fitted which the victim would activate if there was any breach of the order.
‘Everyone has a right to feel safe in their homes and have a future without fear and these new powers will help save lives by reducing harm within the home.’
Support groups for victims of domestic violence in Manchester welcomed the orders.
Andrea Chadwick, senior project worker for Women’s Aid Manchester, said:
‘This helps women too frightened to give evidence. ‘It will save a lot of women from falling through the net.’