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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

02 MAR 2015

Emergency barring orders in domestic violence cases: what can England and Wales learn from other European countries? [2015] CFLQ 25

Keywords: Domestic violence – police response – emergency barring orders


The police in England and Wales have been given new powers to issue domestic violence prevention notices and apply for domestic violence prevention orders. These orders are similar to emergency barring orders that have been available to police officers in other European countries for many years. A Home Office evaluation suggests that the orders may reduce repeat victimisation. Yet it is clear from comparative analysis that there are obstacles to effective implementation of emergency barring orders, not least police attitudes towards domestic violence that have manifested themselves in the under-use of their existing powers under the criminal law. This article considers whether the introduction of barring orders will improve the policing of domestic violence in England and Wales and examines what lessons can be learned from other European countries. It argues that an improved police response is one which makes victims safer and better supported by the police. If these outcomes are achieved then the scheme might be judged a success even though it is a deviation from the traditional policing role.

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