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Sally Gore, Barrister, Coram Chambers. The Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 made breach of a non-molestation order a criminal offence. This is both a practical and symbolic step forward, reflecting the increasing seriousness with which society has come to view domestic violence and will greatly enhance the range of sentencing powers available for a breach.
There are related questions and complications, however, and in this article the author identifies the issues and suggests what might be done to minimise complications. The changes brought about by this new law give greater protection to the victims of domestic violence, but there are human rights implications for defendants - although it does seem that this type of argument will be rejected. There is the further issue of enforcement and to what extent the police will need to be more pro-active and arrest assailants who have breached their orders. Does the wording in non-molestation orders need changing? And given that the 'double jeopardy' principle will apply, what is to happen if there is a whole series of breaches?
The full article contains a detailed analysis of these new provisions and the emerging issues and can be read in August  Fam Law.
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