Domestic Abuse Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:14 pm on 2nd October 2019.

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Photo of Robert Buckland Robert Buckland The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice 1:14 pm, 2nd October 2019

May I make some progress? With the greatest respect to my colleagues, I shall finish the point about what the new DAPO will mean. It will be issued by the police. It may, for example, require the perpetrator to leave the home of the victim for up to 48 hours, and the issue of that notice will then trigger a police application to a magistrates court for a longer-term DAPO to protect the victim.

Of course, it will not always be the case that a single incident necessitates the issuing of a notice. That being the case, the Bill also allows for a victim, the police or any other person, with the permission of the court, to apply for one of these orders, and it would also be open to a judge or magistrate to decide for themselves to make a DAPO as a corollary to existing proceedings in the criminal, civil or family court. So, this is a fully flexible instrument. It can be tailored by the court to meet the needs of the individual victim, and it would be for the courts then to determine its length, or indeed to decide that it should be open-ended until such time as a further order was made. Really importantly, the court will be able to attach not just restrictions but positive requirements. For example, an order could prohibit the perpetrator from contacting the victim, require that perpetrator to attend a behavioural change programme and compel them to wear an electronic tag to monitor compliance with an exclusion zone around the victim’s home. Crucially, breach of that order will be a criminal offence, with a maximum penalty of five years in prison.