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
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Books should be for everyone, says Els, 8. Publisher Scholastic now agrees
booksAn eight-year-old saw a pirate book was ‘for boys’ and took on the publishers
Life and Style
Mary Beard received abuse after speaking positively on 'Question Time' about immigrant workers: 'When people say ridiculous, untrue and hurtful things, then I think you should call them out'
tech
Life and Style
Most mail-order brides are thought to come from Thailand, the Philippines and Romania
life
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Voices
Margaret Thatcher, with her director of publicity Sir Gordon Reece, who helped her and the Tory Party to victory in 1979
voicesThe subject is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for former PR man DJ Taylor
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Cancer Research UK: Corporate Partnerships Volunteer Events Coordinator – London

Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...

Ashdown Group: Head of IT - Hertfordshire - £90,000

£70000 - £90000 per annum + bonus + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: H...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions