‘I will always be on my guard’ - harassment victim calls for stronger protection orders
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019
A harassment victim who went through months of terrifying nightly visits from her ex-partner is calling for protection orders to be more effective.
Kim Arthurton, 55, from Wymondham, took out a private non-molestation order against her ex-partner Michael Young in January soon after a restraining order was given to him by a criminal court.
But despite a subsequent non-molestation order, which was taken out through the civil court and cost her hundreds of pounds, Young breached it four times by visiting her home at night, tapping on windows and contacting her through telephone calls and social media before being arrested and charged.
She believes restraining orders and non-molestation orders are ineffectual if perpetrators are not dealt with by the police and courts the first time they are breached and believed there should be better monitoring of people with orders by police.
FOI figures reveal that in 2019 between January to November 6, Norfolk Police recorded 67 breaches of a non-molestation order and 194 breaches of a restraining order, compared to 44 and 179 in 2014.
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The numbers of charges or people summoned for breaching a non-molestation order and restraining order in 2019, from January to November 6 was 30 and 93 respectively.
In 2014, the number of people charged/summoned for breaching a non-molestation order and restraining order was 30 and 153 respectively.
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Ms Arthurton said: "Restraining orders must be more effective otherwise they are pointless. Non-molestation orders need to be taken more seriously. Police should be on people who breach these orders like a tonne of bricks."
Young, 48, of Summerfield Gardens in Lowestoft, received a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and a five-year restraining order in August.
Ms Arthurton added: "I will always be on my guard."
Rhys Lloyd, media officer for Leeway Domestic Violence and Abuse Services, said: "If orders are compromised it puts people at risk from people that are potentially very dangerous."
Det Insp Alix Wright, from Norfolk Police who leads on safeguarding victims of domestic abuse, said because due to the controlling nature of domestic abuse some victims of order breaches did not want to give evidence for court hearings and some people are not prosecuted because perpetrators often left the scene after breaching an order.
She added Norfolk Police records information about people subject to orders as well as linking up with the probation service.
"They do work for some people and act as a wake-up call."
How are orders made?
Restraining orders are made by criminal courts in respect of a defendant on conviction or acquittal for any criminal offence.
They are free to the victim and intended to be preventative and protective.
An order is put in place if it is necessary to protect a individuals from harassment or conduct that will put them in fear of violence.
There are no limits on how long these orders last for and if they are breached the perpetrator is arrested and could be given a new order, a prison sentence of up to five years and a fine.
Non-molestation orders are usually given to domestic abuse victims. These private orders are made through the civil court and cost money to the person who applies for one. Legal aid is available for some people.
There is no fixed time period for a non-molestation order. If it is breached the offender is likely to be arrested and could be imprisoned for up to five years.