It took a young woman to be murdered by a boyfriend with a history of domestic abuse to be brought in effect.
But after Clare’s Law became legislation in March 2014, police can tell men and women if their partners have a violent past.
Here’s everything you need to know about finding out whether your partner has a history of domestic violence.
What is Clare’s Law?
The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS) was nicknamed ‘Clare’s law’ after Clare Wood, who was strangled and set on fire by her ex-boyfriend in Salford, Greater Manchester, in 2009.
The scheme coincided with the launch of domestic violence protection orders (DVPOs), which enablepolice and magistrates’ courts to provide protection to victims in the aftermath of domestic violence.
Watch: 11 things the law says your partner cannot do
The implementation of Clare’s Law and DVPOs was an integral part of the Government’s Call to End Violence against Women and Girls Action Plan 2014.
The law gives men and women the power to ask their local police force – such as Humberside Police – whether their partner has a history of abuse.
And police can tell them about their partner’s violent history in an effort to prevent them also becoming a victim.
How can it help?
If police checks reveal your partner does have a record of violent behaviour, or there is information revealing you might be at risk from that boyfriend or girlfriend, officers can consider sharing that information with you.
This represents an exception laws preventing authorities revealing information to outside parties without their consent.
The scheme aims to give people in relationships an informed choice wither o continue seeing their partner. It also gives the police and other organisations the chance to offer you help and support in making that decision.
Who can ask for a DVPO?
Anyone with a concern about their partner can make an application for a DVPO.
The purpose of a disclosure is to share specific information about a partner to you or a third party in order to protect you from domestic violence.
Any individual can make an application, and so can a concerned third party, such as a parent, neighbour or friend.
However, a third party making the application might not necessarily be granted the disclosure. So it might be more appropriate for someone else to receive the information – you, or a person who can protect you from the abuse.
How do I request a DVPO?
There are several ways you can make an application. They include:
- At a police station
- Through 101
- Speaking to a police officer in the street
If there is an immediate risk of harm or in an emergency, always call 999.
What can I do with the information?
If you receive a disclosure, you must treat it as confidential. The police can take action against you if the information is shared further without their consent.
Sometimes, you might receive a disclosure even when you have not asked for one. This is because police might receive information which they consider might put you at risk of harm.
After receiving a disclosure, you can seek advice from police and other agencies tio find out what support there is.
Police checks and disclosures cannot guarantee safety, but it will give you an informed perspective and equip you with the tools to seek the right support should you need it.
Who can help me?
- National Centre for Domestic Violence – 0844 8044 999
- The Freephone 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline, run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge – 0808 2000 247
- Crimestoppers – 0800 555 111
- Victim Support – 0845 30 30 900 (24 hours)
- National Stalking Helpline – 0808 802 0300 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
- Men’s Advice Line – 0808 801 0327
- The Mankind Initiative – 0870 794 4124 (assistance for male domestic abuse victims to access a refuge)
- Broken Rainbow – 0300 999 5428
- ChildLine – 0800 11 11
- Samaritans – 08457 90 90 90
- Citizen’s Advice Bureau
- The Children’s Society – 0845 300 1128
- Homestart (For families with at least one child pre-school age) – 0116 233 9955
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