Page last updated at 16:19 GMT, Thursday, 25 November 2010
Shropshire to pilot new domestic abuse scheme
A victim of domestic abuse
The new scheme is aimed at helping victims of domestic abuse

Shropshire has been chosen as one of three areas to take part in a pilot scheme to tackle domestic violence.

Suspected abusers could be banned from their homes for up to 28 days when the year-long trial starts in summer 2011.

The initiative has been welcomed by the charity, Refuge, which supports victims of abuse.

Chief Executive, Sandra Hawley, from Shropshire, said the proposed "go orders" could provide a life-saving breathing space for victims.

Ms Hawley said the initial 48-hour ban on the perpetrator contacting the victim or entering the home was vital: "Many women who call the police at the moment are traumatised and unable or unwilling to make a statement.

"It's important that the police are able to protect the women by removing the perpetrator immediately."

Victims at the centre

Supt Martin Lakeman is head of public protection for West Mercia Police . He said he was very pleased with the announcement made by the home secretary, Theresa May: "It places the victim at the very centre of what we do.

"It will enable the police initially to grant an order making sure the offender doesn't have any further contact with victim and leaves that address."

It doesn't just apply to women. There are many male victims of domestic abuse as well
Supt Martin Lakeman

Supt Lakeman said the pilot scheme was very promising: "It certainly builds on the existing arrangements for victims of domestic abuse.

"We have dedicated domestic abuse courts across West Mercia... and what we refer to as our multi-agency risk assessment conferences which are about looking after the needs of the victim."

He said the idea of the orders was to give the victim breathing space to consider whether they want to go to court or not.

Shropshire reaction

Listeners to Jim Hawkins programme on BBC Radio Shropshire had mixed views about the scheme.

Heather told Jim she had grown up in a very violent household where her father had been violent towards her and her sister, but not their mother who turned a blind eye to what was happening.

She was not sure whether the "go orders" would be effective: "It's a double edged sword. It's going to protect some and going to exacerbate situations with others."

She doubted it would have helped her: "If that law had existed then, I think if my father had come back he would have killed somebody in the house."

Paul said it was dangerous to remove a suspect without enough evidence for a conviction: "Having been the victim of being wrongly accused of a crime based on evidence on a malicious accusation, this, even though it was untrue, blighted my life forever."

Stuart sent a text which said the orders were unconstitutional and therefore illegal: "Emotions need to be kept out of the argument. The law is the law and the law says innocent until proven guilty, not assumed guilty.

"The law also says no forfeiture before conviction. Police are not judges. They are there to enforce the law, not make it or break it."




SEE ALSO
Living with domestic violence
17 Jul 10 |  TV & Radio
Domestic abuse helpline contacts
17 Jul 10 |  TV & Radio

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