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."

News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Romelu Lukaku puts pen to paper
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
News
Sabina Altynbekova has said she wants to be famous for playing volleyball, not her looks
people
News
i100
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

SAP Project Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP PROJECT MANAGER - 3 MONTHS - BERKSHI...

SAP Project Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP PROJECT MANAGER - 3 MONTHS - BERKSHI...

Senior Investment Accounting Change Manager

£600 - £700 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Investment Accounting Change...

Microsoft Dynamics AX Functional Consultant

£65000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: A rare opportun...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star