New restraining order powers

24 AUG 2009

The Home Office has extended the power of courts to issue restraining orders in domestic violence cases allowing them to grant orders following conviction for any offence.

The change, which comes into effect on 30 September, will also allow courts to issue a restraining order where someone has been acquitted, if it's considered necessary to protect a named person from harassment in the future.

Restraining orders are used to protect victims from harassment, including domestic abuse. Breaking the terms of a restraining order is a criminal offence punishable by up to five years in prison. Courts have previously only been able to issue them in limited circumstances - where the defendant has been convicted of harassment or putting someone in fear of violence.

Home Office Minister Lord West said that the new powers will help "victims in need of immediate protection and spare them the need to take separate civil action."

The announcement coincides with the launch of the Home Office's national domestic violence delivery plan 2008-09.

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