Domestic violence protection law
Domestic violence accounts for 15% of all violent incidents reported to the police in England and Wales, and frequently affects the same victim more than once (Strickland, 2013). Of the 1.2 million women who were the victims of domestic abuse in 2012–13, some 63% were involved in repeat incidents (Office for National Statistics, 2014).
Midwives are often one of the first professionals to become aware of domestic abuse within the family. Violence is a public health issue as it damages physical and emotional health and can have a long-lasting negative impact on the individual and their family. Identification of need and early intervention with women can greatly reduce the risk of ongoing harm.
One of the enduring difficulties in cases of domestic violence is that only a minority of reported incidents result in a charge and prosecution of the offender, who is often free to return to the family home within hours of the incident—leaving the victim vulnerable, once again, to a repeat of the abuse (Home Office, 2011). That gap in protection is being closed by two further protective provisions, the domestic violence protection order and the domestic violence protection notice, under the Crime and Security Act 2010, sections 24–33.
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