POLICE in Ludlow and south Shropshire have new powers to deal with domestic abuse.

The additional powers came into force on Monday (June 2) and give the police power to intervene in a new way between couples.

Police are now able to ‘press the stop button’ on domestic abuse to allow victims a breathing space to consider their future options.

It is hoped the new powers called Domestic Violence Protection Orders will improve immediate protection for victims and their children as well as reducing incidents of domestic abuse over the longer term.

The new powers mean that officers entering a home in the immediate aftermath of domestic violence can prevent the perpetrator from returning to the address and from having contact with the victim for up to 28 days by initially serving a Notice on them.

This allows the victim a level of breathing space to consider their options, with the help of a support agency.

The magistrates’ court must then hear the case for the Protection Order within 48 hours of the Notice being made.

If granted, the Order may last between a minimum of 14 days and a maximum of 28 days. This strikes a balance between immediate protection for the victim and judicial oversight.

“These new powers being rolled out nationwide, give the police and other agencies additional tools to tackle domestic violence and to bring offenders to justice,” said Detective Superintendent Stephen Cullen, head of protecting vulnerable people with West Mercia Police.

“They also ensure victims have the support they need to help rebuild their lives.”

In the past victims of domestic violence only receive immediate protection if the police arrest and charge a perpetrator and appropriate bail conditions are set or a civil injunction is sought by the victim.

“This follows the introduction of the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme or Clare's Law in West Mercia on 10 March 2014,” said Bill Longmore, the Police and Crime Commissioner in the West Mercia area. Together these new powers are a huge step forward in increasing protection for those directly affected by domestic abuse.

Jan Frances, Chief Executive of West Mercia Women’s Aid has welcomed the new powers.

For more information about Domestic Violence Protection Orders, please visit www.westmercia.police.uk