Georgia McWilliam


DATE PUBLISHED: 05 Apr 2024 LAST UPDATED: 05 Apr 2024

Domestic Abuse Protection Orders come into force on 8 April 2024

On 8 April 2024, the Domestic Abuse Protection Orders (County Court: Relevant Proceedings) Regulations 2024 (SI 2024/253) will come into force introducing Domestic Abuse Protection Orders (DAPOs).

The new regulations have been put in place under the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 (DAA 2021) and DAPOs will replace the existing Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPOs).

What is Domestic Abuse?

Under Section 1 of the DAA 2021, domestic abuse is defined as follows: –

“(2) Behaviour of a person (“A”) towards another person (“B”) is “domestic abuse” if—

  1. A and B are each aged 16 or over and are personally connected to each other, and
  2. the behaviour is abusive.

(3) Behaviour is “abusive” if it consists of any of the following—

  1. physical or sexual abuse;
  2. violent or threatening behaviour;
  3. controlling or coercive behaviour;
  4. economic abuse (see subsection (4));
  5. psychological, emotional or other abuse;

and it does not matter whether the behaviour consists of a single incident or a course of conduct”.

What is a DAPO and how can it protect you?

A DAPO can be put in place to offer protection from all aspects of domestic abuse including controlling and coercive behaviour. They have been designed to provide a flexible and longer-term, where proportionate, protection for victims. A DVPO only had a maximum duration of 28 days. With greater flexibility and longer-term protection, this means that the Court will be able to adapt DAPOs over time, depending on the circumstances and the risks that a victim is exposed to..

A DAPO can impose restrictions on a perpetrator of domestic abuse. For example, it could prohibit a perpetrator from going to certain places such as the victim’s home and/or from doing things such as messaging the victim.  They can also require a perpetrator to meet certain requirements, for example, requiring the perpetrator to attend a Domestic Abuse Perpetrator Programme. Each DAPO will be case dependant and will be tailored to specifically protect each victim.

How are DAPO’s enforced?

The new rules allow electronic monitoring (“tagging”) to ensure compliance of the DAPO. The perpetrator is also obliged to provide their details to the Police to enable them to monitor the perpetrator’s whereabouts and any risk that they may pose. A breach of this requirement carries penalties.

Unlike DVPOs, a DAPO carries a criminal sanction. Under the DAPO guidelines, any breach will be a criminal offence. There will be a maximum penalty of either five years’ imprisonment, a fine or both. A breach can also be dealt with as a civil contempt of court.

How can you obtain a DAPO?

Some aspects of the process of obtaining a DAPO will remain the same as the current process of obtaining a DVPO. The police will be able to make an application to the Magistrates’ Court, however, there are now alternative routes of application which allow victims and some third parties to apply directly to the Family Court. Additionally, the new regulations mean that the Family, Civil and Criminal Courts can also make a DAPO within a set of proceedings. There is no Court fee to apply for a DAPO.

How can Ellis Jones help?

If you need assistance or advice in relation to domestic abuse, please do not hesitate to get in touch with one of our expert family lawyers on 01202 63622 or by email to


About the authors

Georgia McWilliam

Georgia is Solicitor in our Family department and is based in the Bournemouth office.  Alongside her caseload Georgia also assists partners of the Family team in all aspects of their work to include divorce, children matters and financial settlements.

Chloe Finch

Chloe is a Legal Assistant within our Family department and is based in our Bournemouth office. Chloe’s primary role is to assist Asya Panchalieva, Associate Solicitor in the Family department as well as providing secretarial support to the rest of the team as required.

How can we help?

When you submit this form an email will be sent to the relevant department who will contact you within 48 hours. If you require urgent advice please call 01202 525333.

Make an enquiry

Related news

4 minute read

Government’s changes to Family Law Policy 2024

Read more
3 minute read

Family Court Fees Increase from 1 April 2024

Read more
4 minute read

What are the defences to a child abduction application: 1980 Hague Convention?

Read more
3 minute read

Divorce: Capital gains tax

Read more