Coronavirus: NCDV urges courts to bring forward online court order plans immediately
As society continues to grapple with the effects of Covid 19, NCDV, the National Centre for Domestic Violence, is calling upon all Family and County Courts in England to bring forward their plans to issue electronic Court Orders immediately.
Together with various law firms, NCDV helps over 10,000 victims a year to secure vital Non Molestation Orders (NMOs), believed to be the single most effective countermeasure against domestic abuse and violence. Breaches of such Orders are a criminal offence punishable by up to five years in prison.
Mark Groves, NCDV’s chief executive, is asking the Courts to implement immediately long-held plans to issue Court Orders such as these online. Electronic Court Orders have already been the norm with the Manchester and Wolverhampton Courts for several years.
“It’s vital we use this Covid 19 crisis to bring forward planned reform of the rest of the Courts system,” he said. “This is an opportunity to not only save time and costs but help to reduce the person-to-person spread of the virus in Court.”
NMOs are particularly topical because police forces have gone on record to say they are likely to de-prioritise those events without risk to life.
“With coronavirus, domestic abuse victims are facing a perfect storm,” Groves continued. “The Government’s pandemic suppression policies are likely to mean that couples and families are more likely to find themselves cooped up together.
“Many of the usual education and social outlets such as schools, playgroups, pubs, cafes, cinemas, sporting fixtures and betting shops simply won’t be available to them.