Ed welcomes government u-turn on domestic violence powers

Ed Balls, Labour’s shadow home secretary, said in response to an announcement by the Home Secretary that pilots of new Domestic Violence Protection Orders will go ahead after being halted by the coalition earlier this year:

“This is a very welcome reprieve for an important set of new powers first announced by Alan Johnson and the Labour government last year.

“Over the summer the new Home Secretary Theresa May said the pilots were being halted because of the forthcoming spending cuts. But as I said at the time, the pilots should not be delayed. These orders have been proven to work in other countries and would give the police the extra powers they need to protect the victims of domestic abuse.

“Although the Home Secretary last month dismissed my call for the orders to be reprieved as ‘party politics’, I’m glad that she has now listened to the thousands of people who signed up to the campaign David Miliband and I ran over the summer on this very important issue.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

1. Ed Balls and David Miliband campaigned together on this issue during the Labour leadership campaign. Ahead of the spending review last month Ed Balls sent a letter to the Home Secretary, with over 2,000 signatures, calling for the decision to halt the piloting of Domestic Violence Protection Orders to be reversed. A copy of the letter can be found below.

2. In her reply to Ed Balls on 18 October, Theresa May said: “Congratulations on your appointment as Shadow Home Secretary, and thank you for your letter. I am sorry our first correspondence seems to be motivated by party politics rather than cooperation in the national interest, as we discussed on the telephone last week.”

3. The plans were first announced by the Home Secretary Alan Johnson on 29 September 2009.

Letter from Ed Balls and 2,000 others to Theresa May

Dear Home Secretary,

We are writing to urge you to reverse your decision to halt the piloting of Domestic Violence Protection Orders – the first phase of a programme giving police an important new power to protect victims of domestic abuse across England and Wales.

The Orders give the police the power to ban a violent partner from a family home for two to four weeks. They are aimed at intervening in cases where police are worried about violent behaviour within a household but do not have enough evidence to bring a criminal charge, or where the victim of violence needs time to recover from the shock of an attack, and to decide what to do.

They were due to be available everywhere in a few months’ time, but now it seems that their very future is in the balance. We understand that you have said their fate depends on the outcomes of the Spending Review.

We think these Orders are too important to be delayed in this way, let alone abandoned altogether as now seems a definite risk. In other countries they are proven to be of significant benefit to victims of domestic violence, leading to fewer women and children having to flee home suddenly for refuges, and to fewer becoming homeless. They are cost effective too, saving money from other public service budgets, including from Health.

Victims of domestic violence – who include children as well as women and, more rarely, men – are highly vulnerable and need all the help they can get. DomesticViolence Protection Orders would enhance their safety and welfare, and would give the police an important extra power.

You have said this new police power would be too expensive, but we believe it is wrong to put a price on the safety of victims of violent abuse, and the sums involved are in any event tiny when judged against your Department’s overall budget.

We call on you to implement Domestic Violence Protection Orders now, not sacrifice them in the rush to find deep cuts.

Yours sincerely,

Ed Balls MP and approximately 2,000 other names attached

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Posted November 25th, 2010 by Ed's team

4 Responses to “Ed welcomes government u-turn on domestic violence powers”

  1. Angela Gerrard says:

    Dear Ed

    Thanks for letting me know the outcome of your letter to Teresa May. Having witnessed for myself the devastating effects of domestic violence on women and children I am absolutely delighted that the Coalition Government have seen sense and decided to keep these orders. It seems incredible to me that we live in a society which still allows men to return to live with their “victims” because the police don’t have the powers to prevent this. Can anyone imagine how that feels for a woman who may want to complain but is too frightened to do so because she knows that the perbertrator will be back living with her a few hours time. Would we allow this for any other crime which takes place in our society?

    Thank you so much for championing the cause of women and children in this way.

  2. Todd Bellaris says:

    Congratlations to edd i was physicaly and sexly abused during me schooling at last we can put a stop to this
    Tourchering and suffering i am glad we have a mp who we can trust i like to say thank you to the labour party
    And a very specal thank you to edd millaband for his support and backing know we have better control of
    Bulling at least we labours have got it right this time i went to war on bulling and now i finiley got what
    I was fighting for, i was fighting this for years since 1991 well done labour xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  3. Sandra Norburn says:

    Dear Ed,
    Wonderful news for victims of domestic violence, and how fitting that it has been announced on International day to End Violence Against Women. The work Labour did to improve the response to Domestic Violence, including Specialist Courts, MARAC, Independent DV Advocates has made a huge difference to the safety of mainly women and children, but also male victims. Domestic violence costs the country millions, in health, policing, courts and other public services and investment is still needed in prevention and education to work towards eradicating this terrible crime and changing the culture of acceptance that it still enjoys. One small step today. Thank you.

  4. Gerard Cassidy says:

    Ed you are a great ambassador for the Labour Party and for society in general. You are the strong, yet compassionate type of politician that is needed at this point in time. You are in step with the electorate and their concerns are your concerns as you have demonstrated throughout your time in parliament. No one should have to live in fear of a violent spouse or partner, so well done on making this Coalition see sense. It will be a real tragedy if you don’t get an opportunity to lead the Labour Party. You were my choice for the job. Congratulations also on a great performance on the Andrew Marr Show last weekend.

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