Theresa May scraps power to ban domestic abusers from victims' homes

A scheme to protect women from domestic abuse by removing violent partners from the family home is being scrapped by the Government as part of its drive to cut public spending.

Under the so-called "go orders" planned for England and Wales, senior police would have been given the power to act instantly to safeguard families they considered at threat.

Violent men would have been banned from their homes for up two weeks, giving their victims the chance to seek help to escape abuse.

But Theresa May, the Home Secretary, has decided to halt the scheme, which was due to be piloted this autumn and be rolled out nationwide next year, The Independent has learnt.

She has told charities that she had taken the decision to save money and because of worries about the legislation setting up the orders. The Home Office is under pressure to cut at least £2.5bn from its annual budget of £10bn.

David Hanson, the shadow policing minister, accused the coalition Government of seeming "happy" to allow potential victims to become actual victims.

"Domestic violence should be a priority for ministers. It has been a hidden crime for far too long," he said. "The first duty of a government is to protect its citizens."

Mr Hanson said he was tabling urgent Commons questions demanding to know the reason for the decision, and whether police had been consulted.

David Chaplin, a spokesman for the NSPCC children's charity, said the organisation was "deeply disappointed" by the move.

He said: "We strongly supported the orders. They would have given some vital respite to the victims of abuse."

A Home Office spokeswoman said Mrs May had made clear she regarded tackling violence against women as a priority. "However, in tough economic times, we are now considering our options for delivering improved protection and value for money," she added.

Plans for Domestic Violence Protection Orders – modelled on similar schemes in Switzerland and Austria. – passed into law in April. Although they were championed by the former home secretary Alan Johnson, they received the support of all main political parties.

They were aimed at intervening in cases where police were worried about violent behaviour within a household, but did not have enough evidence to bring a criminal charge.

An officer of inspector rank or above would have the power to order a perpetrator from a property and the immediate area for up to 14 days. They were to be piloted in the West Midlands and Wiltshire from October and introduced nationally next year.

Breach of the orders could have led to criminal prosecution for contempt, potentially leading to a jail sentence.

Supporters argued that that allowed women to stay in their homes rather than flee to a friend's home, or a refuge, to escape their abuser. Although 750,000 incidents are reported to the police each year, fewer than one-third of them result in criminal charges.

The Home Office said it continued to provide funding for domestic violence advisers to support victims through the court system and Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conferences which bring together police, probation and other professionals to consider how best to protect victims.

Case study: 'Women need time to escape violent husbands'

Domestic violence victim, aged 32

"I was attacked and battered by my boyfriend for nearly two years before I finally decided enough was enough.

He was an alcoholic and the smallest thing would set him off. Once he beat me because he did not like the way I had parked the car. Another time he had an argument with my daughter and took it out on me.

It would happen twice a month and I would often call the police. They would usually ask him to leave, but he would just sit on the garden wall and the police said they couldn't do anything because he was not committing any offence, it was still a domestic argument. He could then come back to the house just a few minutes after they had left.

I had been with him for four years and it felt like he was in control of me. I finally found the courage to leave him after he attacked me when I was pregnant. He kicked me in the stomach and I feared that I had lost the baby.

I went to court and took out a molestation order which means he cannot come near the property or speak to me about anything other than his daughter.

I think giving the police the power to keep violent partners away from their partners for two weeks would have been very helpful.

It used to be very frustrating that my partner would come back to my house just hours after I had called the police and there was not much I could do. When I felt in danger I knew there were things I could do, people I could phone, but I could never do it when he was around. I am sure other women who are now in the situation I was in feel the same.

But if I knew he would not be back for two weeks it would have given me time to do something. I might have been able to get the help I needed sooner."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office / Sales Manager

£22000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established and expanding South...

Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones