The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS) is often called ‘Clare’s Law’ after the landmark case that led to it.
36-year-old Clare Wood was murdered by her ex-boyfriend, George Appleton, in 2009.
Ms Wood was strangled and set on fire at her home in Salford, Greater Manchester, in February 2009 by George Appleton, who had a record of violence against women.
Her father, Michael Brown, who campaigned for the introduction of Clare’s Law, is convinced she would still be alive had she known the full extent of Appleton’s previous behaviour.
He said he was “absolutely delighted” that the scheme had come into force.
Ms Wood, a mother-of-one, had met Appleton on Facebook.
She knew nothing about his history of violence against women, which included threats, repeated harassment and the kidnapping at knifepoint of one of his ex-girlfriends.
He went on the run after murdering Ms Wood and was dubbed the “Facebook Fugitive”.
He hanged himself while still at large.
Clare’s Law now gives any member of the public the right to ask the police if their partner may pose a risk to them.
Under Clare’s Law, a member of the public can also make enquiries into the partner of a close friend or family member.
Once an application is made under the law, police and partner agencies will carry out a range of different checks.
If these checks reveal a record of abusive offences or suggest a risk of violence or abuse then the police will consider sharing this information with the person making the request.
Talking about the law, a police spokesperson said:
“Our aim is to help people to make a more informed decision on whether to continue a relationship and provide help and support when making that choice.
“If we decide to reveal what we find, also called making a ‘disclosure’, this will usually be to the person at risk. This is unless, in the circumstances, someone else is better placed to use the information to protect the person at risk from abuse.
“There may be occasions when we won’t let you know whether a disclosure has or hasn’t been made.
“Any disclosure will be made in person; none of the disclosure is made in writing and you won’t be given any documents”.
To make an application you’ll need to attend a police station in person where a police officer or member of police staff will take the details of what prompted your enquiry and talk you through the next steps.
A safe means of contacting you will be established and the police will carry out some initial checks to make sure there are no immediate concerns.
If there are, or if you tell the police that a crime has taken place, then the police may act on them.
You’ll need to give your:
- date of birth
This new Law is a great way of finding out if your partner poses a risk.
Often in domestic abuse cases, the partner being abused may have had no knowledge that their partner has a violent history and may pose a threat to their safety.
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