Specialist teams secure rare court order in continued drive to tackle domestic abuse
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Specialist teams who work to tackle domestic abuse have secured a rare court order as they continue to target serial domestic offenders.
An interim Violent Offender Order (VOO) was handed down by a District Judge at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court yesterday, Friday 24 November.
VOOs are civil orders designed to help protect individuals and the wider public from offenders who continue violent offending behaviour after leaving prison for a relevant offence, and those still posing a risk of serious violent harm.
If breached, this could result in a term of imprisonment up to five years.
The orders are used specifically for those who have been released from prison, and are no longer on licence, or under a hospital or supervision order.
In this case, the offender had previously been convicted of causing horrific GBH injuries in an incident of domestic abuse. Having served part of his prison term, he then breached his licence conditions and was returned to prison. He is managed by multi agency public protection agreement (MAPPA) at the highest level and is considered to pose a very high risk of harm to the public.
The interim order will remain in place until the defendant’s next court hearing where a full VOO will be sought.
Due to the high threshold that must be met for a VOO to be granted and the number of measures in place before one can be applied for, only a small number of VOOs have been made by courts in England and Wales since their introduction in 2009.
This is the second order of its kind in Essex in 14 years.
'Our commitment to preventing violence against women and girls'
Detective Chief Inspector Nathan Hutchinson said:
“This offender has already proved they may offend again when released from prison. “This kind of repeated violent crime, and targeting of the same victim, can have an immeasurable impact on someone’s life. We take the threat this offender poses very seriously, and will not hesitate to make sure they return to prison if they violate this order. “This VOO was the result of exemplary work by our North Domestic Abuse Problem Solving Team (DAPST), supported by officers in our Crime and Public Protection Police Order Enforcement Team (POET) and our legal department. “This order was agreed a day before White Ribbon Day – this order and all the work of the officers involved is just the latest in our commitment to preventing violence against women and girls in our county.”
Reducing the risk for victims
Essex Police has made huge strides in reducing the risk for victims. We have increased referrals into victim support services, setting up inclusive forums such as our Victims Feedback Panel to capture victim voices, learn from their experiences and continually improve our services.
We also have several teams dedicated to getting the help to those who need it, including our Rapid Video Response Team, who provide an alternative way for domestic abuse victims to report an incident, meaning we can gather valuable evidence and give support to victims as soon as they report an incident.
Our Domestic Abuse Problem Solving Teams are crucial in helping to break the cycle of abuse. Their work focuses on managing dangerous repeat offenders and ensuring victims across the county get access to the right support. They are experts in their field and work tirelessly every day to keep victims of abuse safe.
Reflect on your behaviour
In September 2023, our Reflect campaign, which urges domestic abuse perpetrators to look at their own actions, was recognised at the first National Police Chiefs’ Council and College of Policing’s event for police officers, staff and volunteers who are working to tackle violence against women and girls.
Since its launch in 2022 almost 500 people have contacted our charity partner, The Change Project, for support regarding their behaviour, and reports of domestic abuse have dropped in the 12 months to April 2023.