Nearly 1,000 people in West Midlands are breaching their restraining orders

Nearly 1,000 people in West Midlands are breaching their restraining orders

Nearly 1,000 people in the West Midlands were taken to court for breaching restraining orders in just one year.

In 2017, 991 people from the police force area appeared in court charged with breaching a restraining or non-molestation order or an injunction against harassment.

While the number of breaches appears to be rising, the conviction rate for those who break the terms of orders to protect victims from harassment and the threat of violence is also rising.

Generally, there has been a rise in the number of breaches being prosecuted since 2007, when 25 people appeared in court.

However, the number has fallen from 1,005 in 2016, according to the figures from the Ministry of Justice.

Part of the rise in people being prosecuted for breaching restraining orders may be due to more orders being made.

 

Section 12 of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 (DVCVA 2004) came into force on September 30, 2009, enabling courts to impose a restraining order in a much wider range of circumstances.

Previously courts could only make a restraining order when sentencing or otherwise dealing with a defendant convicted of an offence of harassment or of putting someone in fear of violence.

The figures show that there was a jump from 47 prosecutions in the West MIdlands in 2008 to 253 in 2009, following the change in law.

The figures show 87% of those prosecuted for breaches in 2017 were convicted, a total of 859 convictions.

Generally the conviction rate for breaches has improved over the period, rising from around 65% before the change in law, to around 79% between 2010 and 2014.

Of those convicted in 2017, 94% were men, 811 out of 859, with most aged 25 and over, a total of 695 convictions.

 

Among those convicted in the West Midlands in 2017, was a girl aged between 12 and 14, and three boys aged between 15 and 17.

Across England and Wales, there were 14,523 prosecutions for breach of a restraining or non-molestation order or an injunction against harassment in 2017.

These cases led to 12,326 convictions, representing a conviction rate of 85%, the highest rate on record.

Almost all of those convicted were men, 94% in 2017, with most aged over 25.

However, among those convicted in 2017 were six boys and one girl aged between 12 and 14, and 44 boys and eight girls aged between 15 and 17.

Of those convicted in 2017, more than a quarter (28%) were jailed, while 23% were given a community order, 17% were fined and 14% received a suspended sentence.

 

Of those jailed, 98% received a sentence of less than a year, with the most common sentence between three and six months.

“They can be a vital tool to protect survivors from experiencing further abuse”

Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, said: “Civil protection orders, like non-molestation and restraining orders, can be a vital tool to protect survivors from experiencing further abuse or harassment from a former partner. From our work with survivors, we know that survivors apply for civil protection orders when they feel that they and their children are at risk.

“We have long been calling for abusers to feel the full force of the law if they breach an order, otherwise civil protection orders are just a piece of paper that offer survivors no peace of mind.

“That’s why we are pleased to see the latest figures from the Ministry of Justice which show that the criminal justice system is taking decisive action when orders are breached. Only by holding abusers to account for their crimes and taking steps to ensure that survivors are protected can we ensure that survivors will have confidence in the criminal justice system to safeguard them and their children.”

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