Protection measures

If you feel that you are in danger when you first contact the police they will explain to you how you can keep yourself safe through:

What are protection measures?

Protection measures aim to keep you safe by limiting or preventing contact with the offender or another person acting on the offender’s behalf. This includes protecting you from being victimised all over again, retaliation or intimidation. Protection measures may include advice on:

  • how to keep you and your property safe, and
  • protection orders under the Domestic Violence Act 2018 if you have been the victim of domestic abuse. These protection orders include safety orders, barring orders, emergency barring orders, interim barring orders and protection orders.

Safety orders: This is when a court makes an order that someone (an offender, an accused person or someone associated with them) shall not use or threaten to use violence, make you fearful and shall not watch your home.

Barring orders: This is when a court makes an order that someone (an offender, an accused person or someone associated with them) must leave your home if they live with you. For someone who does not live with you, a court will order that they must not enter your home.

Interim barring orders: This is when a court can make a quick decision to make a very short-term barring order if you are at immediate risk of harm. This helps to keep you safe right away while you wait for an application for a long-term barring order to be made.

Protection orders: This is when a court can make a quick decision to make a very short-term order that someone (an offender, an accused person or someone associated with them) shall not use or threaten to use violence, molest or make you fearful and shall not watch your home. In the same way, an interim barring order helps to keep you safe while you wait for a full barring order, a protection order helps to keep you safe while you wait for a full safety order or barring order.

These orders are only available to victims of certain crimes like domestic abuse.

You should also receive information about other orders a court can give. For example, there are orders to stop an offender, an accused person or someone associated with them from communicating with you by and to keep them from going within a certain distance of your home or workplace.

What other protection measures are there?

Other protection measures before the trial include:

  • applications to keep the offender in custody (prison), and
  • applications to place conditions on any bail an offender is given.

To read more about bail conditions see this section.

Protection after an offender has been convicted:

  • A court can make a harassment order if the offender was convicted of harassing you. This means the offender will benot be able to communicate with or contact you. In some cases, the offender might be prohibited from entering certain houses, buildings or area.
  • The judge can make a restriction on movement order instead of a prison sentence for certain crimes, which means the offender will not be allowed to go to certain places.
  • For very serious crimes, the judge can also give a monitoring order or a protection of persons order. The monitoring order may last for up to 7 years and requires the offender to notify the local police station of their address and of any change of address while the order is in place. The protection of persons order is an order that aims to protect victims from harassment.
  • The judge may order the offender to stop behaving in a way that would be likely to cause you fear, distress, alarm or to do anything to intimidate you.

An offender can apply to stop or change the conditions of these orders, but this will only be allowed by a judge if there has been a change in the circumstances.

Protection after the offender is released from prison:
After the offender is released from prison a post-release order can be made by a judge. This means that the offender is monitored by the Probation Service when they are released from prison to ensure that they comply with certain conditions


Special measures

Who needs special protection?

  • All children who are victims of crime need special protection, and some adults also need special protection.
  • Parents or guardians of a child victim can make their views and concerns about protection known to the police, unless the parent or guardian is under investigation for a crime.


The police will assess your needs and decide if you need protection.

Your protection needs might change throughout the investigation and before or during the trial.

How do the police assess if you would need special measures?
The police will link in with you to see:
1. If you need to be protected
2. If you might benefit from protection measures.
3. If you have a particular vulnerability or are more likely than others to be victimised all over again, intimidated or suffer from retaliation and you might benefit from special measures during the investigation or during the trial.

When carrying out this assessment of your needs, the police will consider:

1. The type and nature of the crime
2. The circumstances of the crime
3. Whether you have suffered considerable harm due to a very serious crime
4. Your personal characteristics (the things that make you who you are) such as your age, gender, gender identity or expression, ethnicity, race, religion, sexual orientation, health, disability, communication difficulties, relationship to, or dependence on, the offender and any previous experience of crime you may have had.
5. Whether the crime was committed with a bias or discriminatory motive, which may be related to your personal characteristics (the things that make you who you are, such as your nationality, race or sexual orientation). If the offence was motivated by these characteristics, it might have been a hate crime
6. Any particular vulnerability of victims of terrorism, organised crime, human
trafficking, gender-based violence, violence in a close relationship, sexual
violence or exploitation and victims with disabilities.

To decide if you need special protection, the police will consider:
the type of crime committed,
how serious the crime was, and
the harm that you suffered.

These decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. No two cases are the same.

The police should consider your views about whether or not you need protection.

If you are a person with a disability, the police will consider any specific accessibility needs you might have.

If you are suffering from secondary or repeat victimisation (see next answer), intimidation or retaliation, the police can put in place special measures during the investigation and any criminal proceedings to protect you.

What is secondary and repeat victimisation?
This means that you suffer further harm after the crime is committed. For example, if you are exposed again to the person who committed the crime or if institutions do not treat you properly after the crime, or if the police treat you in a way that makes you suffer during the investigation.

You will be offered extra protection if:
the crime was committed because of who you are (a hate crime)
you were the victim of terrorism or organised crime
you were the victim of human trafficking, gender-based violence, violence in a close relationship, sexual violence or if you were exploited

If the police decide that you need protection measures or special measures to protect you, they should ask for your opinion on these measures.
If the police cannot offer you protection, they must explain why. The reasons might be legal, practical or operational (impacting on their work).
If your needs change over time, the police must review their assessment of your needs.

There are special measures:
1. During the investigation
2. During the trial

Special measures during the investigation:
These could include being interviewed somewhere that is safe by a trained person or a person of a particular gender to meet your needs. This could happen, for example, if you have survived sexual assault or domestic abuse.

Special measures during the trial:

Clearing the courtroom

The judge can exclude the public, a portion of the public or any particular person from the courtroom during the trial. A judge has the power to remove everyone from the courtroom apart from legitimate, professional journalists and people who work for the court. However, your parents, relatives or friends can stay in the courtroom as can support workers who are there to support you. If the offender is under 18 years old, their parent, relative, “appropriate adult“ or friend can stay in the court too.

Questions about your private life

The judge can give instructions, which are known as “special directions”, about what the defence can ask you about your private life. A judge can give these instructions if there is a concern that you might be subject to secondary and repeat victimisation, intimidation or retaliation and they feel it is in the interests of justice. If these directions are given, then the defence cannot ask you any question about your private life that is unrelated or irrelevant to the crime.

The judge can arrange for you to address the court from a video-link or through someone else, an “intermediary“ rather than attending court in person, or for you to give your evidence behind a screen so that you are hidden from view. 

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