The Government has announced a pilot that will give police the power to ban people suspected of abusing a partner from their homes for up to four weeks.
The year-long pilot scheme will begin next summer in the Greater Manchester, Wiltshire and West Mercia police areas. The police will be able to issue domestic violence protection orders, known as 'Go' orders, to bar the perpetrators of domestic violence from their homes for 48 hours, with the possibility of this being extended by a court to between 14 and 28 days.
Currently, victims can only be protected immediately if the perpetrator is charged and bail conditions set, or if a civil injunction is sought by the victim. This means that in many cases, the only option for victims is to escape to temporary accommodation. The 'Go' orders will allow police to give evidence on the victim's behalf, removing the perpetrator from the home and preventing contact with the victim where they are concerned about the on-going risk of violence.
In a paper outlining the Government's plans to tackle domestic violence, the Home Secretary, Theresa May, will also announce plans today to allocate more than £28 million for specialist services to tackle violence against women and girls until 2015.
The Association of Chief Police Officers welcomed the announcement. Deputy Chief Constable Carmel Napier said: "Domestic abuse is an enormous issue, one in seven of all violent crimes reported are related to domestic abuse. Every year about one in six of all murders in the UK are domestic violence related homicides.
"Last year ACPO was asked to take part in a review of police powers and laws around tackling violence against women and girls, and the implementation of the domestic violence protection order was a key recommendation from that review and mirror police powers already being used elsewhere in Europe."
Last year there were over one million female victims of domestic abuse in England and Wales. Overall in the UK, more than one in four women will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime, according to the Home Office.