As part of the #16DaysofAction and #WhiteRibbonDay campaign, we are raising awareness of Domestic Violence, what it is and the physical and psychological harm it can cause, how we can all play a part in preventing it, spotting the signs that someone may be suffering from Domestic Violence and giving details of the support available both within Community Gateway and from external organisations.
Today we are looking at Clare’s Law, (the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme) (DVDS) and what it means and what rights it offers to people.
What is Clare’s Law?
Clare’s Law (the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme was introduced following the death of Clare Woods (1973-2009). Clare was in a relationship with George Appleton, but unaware of his violent history of abuse. When the relationship ended, she was subjected to harassment by him and was raped and strangled before her body was set on fire and later discovered in her home in Salford. At the inquest, the coroner said:”… Consideration should be given to the disclosure of such convictions and their circumstances to potential victims in order that they can make informed choices about matters affecting their safety and that of their children.
What is the right to ask?
Under this new law, any concerned person (a current partner, family member, professional person or-next door-neighbour) has a right to ask the police about someone’s past, if they are worried about their behaviour and think they may potentially be violent.
What is the right to know?
As a result of this new law, the police may proactively let a person know if they are associating with someone who has previously been violent or abusive.
What will happen if you contact the Police, citing Clare’s Law?
If you are concerned and contact the Police, they will collect information and do an assessment to see if there is an immediate risk.
Before officers disclose any information about someone's past behaviour, they will also do checks to confirm the identity of the person who is making the enquiry, what their concerns are, and why they are making an application. They will also consider the level of risk to the new partner, whether there are children involved, what information they hold, and whether it is necessary, lawful and appropriate for them to make a disclosure in order to safeguard a person from harm.
Once checks are completed, the Police will decide whether they can reveal any information and who the disclosure can be made to. Any information issued by the Police must be kept confidential and cannot be shared with anyone else.
Take a look at this leaflet which explains in more detail about Clare’s Law and what to do if you are concerned about your partner, or that someone else may be suffering domestic abuse. You can read and download it here.
You can also contact Lancashire Constabulary on 101 or in an emergency always ring 999. There is a full list of useful contacts on our previous article which can be found by clicking here. These include Preston Domestic Violence Service (PDFVS), whom we are proud to support. PDVS can be contacted on tel: 01772 201601 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.pdvs.org.uk