Suspected domestic abusers could be banned from their homes for up to four weeks even if there is insufficient evidence for them to be charged under plans unveiled by Home Secretary Theresa May on Wednesday.
The “go orders” will enable police to step in and ban suspected attackers from the victim’s home even if they are too afraid of taking action themselves or if no criminal proceedings are possible.
The year-long pilot scheme, which will start next summer in Greater Manchester, Wiltshire and West Mercia, comes as the Government prepares to publish its plans to crack down on violence against women and girls.
Mrs May said: “Tackling violence against women in all its forms is a priority for me and for this Government. Domestic violence is an appalling crime which sees two women a week die at the hands of their partners, while millions more suffer years of abuse in their own homes.
“These new powers will allow the police to step in when the victims are most vulnerable to give them vital space and time, which could ultimately save their lives.”
Police will be able to prevent alleged abusers from having contact with the victim, or returning to the victim’s home, for 48 hours. A court will then be able to extend the domestic violence protection order, known as go orders, for a longer period, usually between 14 and 28 days.
Victims will be given support to discuss their options while suspected attackers will have to find their own temporary accommodation.
The measure was first proposed by the previous government and similar schemes in Austria, Germany, Poland and Switzerland have proved to be a success, the Home Office said.