DV cops use orders to protect reluctant victims

| 01/11/2021 | 13 Comments
Cayman News Service
Detectives Brian Faint and Elizabeth Owens

(CNS): Detectives at the RCIPS Domestic Violence Unit have begun making use of court orders that allow them to keep violent partners away from their victims, even when those on the receiving end of the violence won’t give evidence against them. Coupled with a dedicated court for dealing quickly with domestic abuse cases, the recent successful imposition of protection orders is keeping more people safe than ever before from violence behind closed doors that is all too prevalent across the islands.

Detectives Elizabeth Owens and Brian Faint recently revealed how the RCIPS is successfully protecting those at high risk using protection orders that were previously used only by victims directly and not the police.

The move by the police to use this type of protective measures under the Domestic Violence Act without a reported crime or even without the consent of a victims came about after Owens began developing an offender management programme at the end of last year. The orders were designed for victims who usually apply for them with the help of social services when they reach breaking point at the hands of an abuser.

In March this year Owens made the first direct police application for an order to protect a vulnerable victim who was at very high risk from a violent partner even though the woman had withdrawn the original reports of the domestic abuse she had been subjected to. She was particularly vulnerable and could not cope with the court situation, yet in her absence the police were able to secure a year-long protection order from the court to protect her from the abuser.

“I identified that she was overwhelmed with her situation,” said Detective Ownes. “She was ill-equipped for various different reasons to make the application herself, so I made the application for her.”

In another case, despite repeated serious assaults, the victim did not want the offender prosecuted and wanted to stay in the relationship, Faint said. But the threat to the woman was of such “grave concern” and he was worried “about what would happen should another incident occur”, so the detective made the application despite the victim’s failure to cooperate at all or even consent.

The application was even challenged by the victim but it was ultimately approved for three years because the woman was believed to be in serious danger. Since that order was secured the offender has been jailed for other violent crimes. Even though the victim still doesn’t support the order, Faint said, the police believe safeguarding the woman, who is now able to life safely in the community, is the most important thing.

The Domestic Violence Unit is only using the orders in exceptional circumstances, such as when a victim is under serious threat and all other options have been exhausted or fail and the person remains in serious danger unwilling or unable to apply for the protective order.

Many women often withdraw reports about the violent conduct of their partners for a variety of reasons, not least intimidation and fear. At other times they change their minds as a result of a temporary improvement, or some people just accept the violence as part of life.

But some of these victims are in real danger and by using these orders the police can now intervene in the most high risk situations before it is too late and hope than in time even the most reluctant victims will come to understand and support the action.

According to research, it can take victims of domestic abuse seven attempts to leave a violent situation for good. Nicole Quinland from the Department of Children and Family Services, who joined the police officers when they spoke to the media about the work, said these orders are really helpful for victims who are still trapped.

The Multi-Agency Support Hub (MASH), which is a collaborative effort between relevant government agencies and NGOs, documents all the reports of violence involving children in domestic abuse situations as well as other child safeguarding issues. Quinland said there were 826 referrals relating to children in the first half of this year and 11% of those were connected to a situation of domestic violence. The total number of domestic abuse cases reported to police in 2020 was 2,288, and as of last month some 1,358 had been reported this year.

The orders enable the police to arrest a perpetrator who breaches an order without an incident of violence, and someone subject to an order can go to jail if they try to contact a victim. The detectives also confirmed that the orders have been used to protect male victims as well because domestic violence is not the exclusive domain of men. They said these protection orders not only keep offenders and victims apart but they can include conditions, such as mandatory counselling, anger management, drug or alcohol rehabilitation and other measures.

Anyone who is in an abusive situation can call 911 at any time
or the Domestic Violence Unit directly on 244-6004
or the Crisis Centre hotline: 943 2422
or the Department of Child and Family Service on 949-0290

People can also email mash@gov.ky or call them on 649-9185

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Category: Crime, Police

Comments (13)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Excellent worjkby all in FSU but DC Owens deserves a special mention. She has worked like a trojan to push through these court orders meanwhile working her @ss off to introduce an Offender Management Unit at the same time. An asset to RCIPS. Wish we had more like her!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Some woman use law to thrir advabtage…my ex wife shived me diwn in kitchen and jpt repeating.hit me nuh…so i can take you northward…i walked away..left house..divirced and been single happily dovorced since 2009….at first sign of trouble…see ya….latrrrrrr

  3. Byrd says:

    This unfortunately has come as a result or because some very bad actors now in the employ of our government Probation and prison who believe and for nefarious reasons that colluding with non law abiding friends and fellow countrymen to undermine and manipulate the system is in their best interest so they will appear effective and popular amongst the criminal element of their society. Well done MASH unit you have turn back the menaces of society and stood up yet again for the victims. Sadly We just wish our Courts would do the same. Well done Elizabeth & Brian and others keep on rolling girl ! The heathen back dem pan di wall!

  4. Michael Day says:

    Good work. A step forward to protect those abused by coward abusers. The abuser will still have their day in court.

  5. nauticalone345 says:

    Great work….and long overdue!

  6. CK says:

    This is a good step in the right direction, We must send a very strong message that we will not allow or tolerate this kind of behavior. Domestic violence is not ok.

    Recently there was a major incident in Philadelphia where a man assaulted a woman on a train and no one intervene. We have all gone mad. The strength and beauty of our society is define by the way we treat our children, our elderly , and our most vunerable. Let us do more to stop all kind of violence. Men let us treat our ladies the way they deserved to be treated, with RESPECT.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I have personally had interaction with the Inspector Scott and was so impressed with her empathy, but persuasion too. Thank you for helping me.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?

    Now anyone can accuse anyone of domestic abuse with no evidence and have the police remove them.

    • Anonymous says:

      Police don’t just take action unilaterally and for no reason.

      If there’s injury, someone’s getting arrested. Both injured, probably both getting arrested, unless it’s obvious one is particularly culpable. The bail is then set to keep people apart. Nobody is simply turfed out of their home on a whim.

      A case is put together, then it may go to court. The presumption is still innocent until proven guilty.

    • Anonymous says:

      Did you even read the article? It says the order is used when the victim DOES NOT apply for it or does NOT want to testify against her abuser.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Good. But not enough. I have never understood why punching a spouse does not result in exactly the same treatment as if the person punched a tourist. Either way, it is disgusting and should result in an immediate custodial sentence. If not Caymanian, deportation should follow.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed 100% too many here about right to family horseshit when the hold bases for that landmark judgement is based on a UK deportee who had no right to be here in the first place and the DNA of his alleged child was not even for subject this bullshit has to stop ! too much corruption going on in this little place Mann! Subject paid $$$$$ off then baby mamma !

  10. Anonymous says:

    Great work – thanks to all involved.

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