Last week, we highlighted the importance of Corrie’s storyline about Asha Alahan and indecent image circulation. Another key storyline which has been going on for a long time is that of the controlling and coercive behaviour and domestic abuse suffered by Yasmeen Nazir at the hands of her husband, Geoff Metcalfe.
Another uncomfortable storyline has brought into focus the reality of domestic abuse, both emotionally and physically, and how it can go unnoticed to neighbours, family members and even victims themselves.
While, it is “just a soap”, the issues they cover are all too real. Previous strong storylines have involved mental health, addiction and grooming.
There is no easy way to address the issue of controlling and coercive behaviour and/or domestic violence, particularly when you are the one going through it.
Mind games, controlling behaviour and emotional abuse are all elements of what we have seen through this storyline.
The first port of call if you are suffering, particularly in these times where we are confined to the home, should be to reach out to a trusted family member, friend or domestic abuse charity.
The National Domestic Abuse helpline is open 24/7. There is a ‘quick exit’ button on the site to leave the page immediately should you need to. If you are at immediate risk of harm, call 999. If you are unable to speak, you can press 55 to confirm that the call is genuine and not a mistake.
The police now have increased powers to help protect victims of domestic abuse. They don’t have to be contacted by a victim directly; if someone suspects that something is not right, they can contact the police, too.
Domestic Violence Protection Notice (DVPN):
If, on receipt of information, the police do not have sufficient information to charge a suspected perpetrator, they can issue a DVPN on them. These must be issued personally by an officer of superintendent rank or higher, and can keep the accused away from the victim’s property for up to 48 hours until a Magistrates Court hearing can take place.
Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO):
In the Magistrates Court, the police can apply for a DVPO which can lead to removal from the property for an additional 28 days. This can be either agreed or challenged by the alleged perpetrator. If challenged, a hearing must take place where evidence can be heard as soon as possible.
Domestic Violence Protection Orders
In incidents where there is insufficient evidence to allow for prosecution, police have the power to apply for orders that can prevent contact between the suspected perpetrator and the victim.
A Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO) can give the victim time to evaluate their situation without having the perpetrator try to influence their thoughts and actions. A DVPO can also prevent the suspected perpetrator of returning to the home of the victim, even if that is their own address.
In the case of Coronation Street, we don’t yet know what will happen and whether this could be an option for Yasmeen. Many people remain unaware of the existence of these orders which provide immediate protection for victims and a cooling off period for all parties during which time they can get support from police and other agencies. Importantly for the victim, if the perpetrator breaches a DVPO they can receive a custodial sentence of up to 2 months.
Raising awareness of DVPO and DVPN could help to stop domestic abuse earlier on, so that victims can be protected and perpetrators can be investigated.
Legal Representation for the Alleged Perpetrator
Alternatively, for people who have had a DVPO issued against them as a suspected perpetrator, should you wish to challenge this in court, our Crime team can assist.
We believe that everybody is entitled to legal representation, and that while many cases of DVPO are legitimate and a necessity for victims, there could be cases of misunderstanding or malicious reporting by others.
With this in mind, our expert Criminal Defence Solicitors can take you through the court process. Seek legal representation at the earliest opportunity should you wish to challenge a DVPO.
Get in Touch
If Yasmeen and Geoff’s storyline has brought you to realisation that you may be a victim of domestic abuse, or equally if the police have issued a Domestic Violence Protection Order against you, please contact us.
While we are working remotely, contact our general enquiries number on 0161 969 3131 or fill in our contact form, stating which team you would like to speak with, and we will be in touch.