‘Clares Law’ – Tackling Domestic Violence


A Pilot Scheme which started on Monday 16th July has come into operation in the Gwent and Wiltshire Police force areas giving people the right to ask if their partner has a history of violent behaviour. Other areas including Greater Manchester and Nottinghamshire are due to follow suit in September.

Domestic Violent Relationships Family Law

The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS), dubbed "Clares Law" has been set up following an investigation into the murder of Clare Wood, a woman from Greater Manchester. Clare was killed in 2009 by her boyfriend who had a history of violent behaviour. This pilot scheme will mean people have the right to ask the police to disclose information about a partner’s history of violent behaviour. Applications are also allowed from family and friends who have a "reasonable fear" that someone they care for is at risk.

The scheme has been set up following a successful public consultation with more than 250 responses from various organisations. Theresa May, Home Secretary backs the idea saying "Domestic violence is a dreadful crime which sees two women a week die at the hands of their partners, and millions more suffer years of abuse in their own homes. That is why we are constantly looking at new ways of protecting victims …"

The scheme is intended to protect people by allowing the police to share information with those at risk and allowing individuals to make informed decisions about those they intend to enter into a relationship with. There have been concerns raised as to the danger of malicious claims being made and information being used inappropriately against innocent people. Assurances have been given that safeguards are in place to control the disclosure of information provided by the Police.

Funding has also been put in place in Scotland where the Scottish Government has announced £34.5 million will be put in place to tackle domestic violence problems.

The DVDS pilot scheme is set to run through to September 2013 at which point a review will take place as to whether this scheme has been a success and if it should be rolled out to the rest of the country.

If you are experiencing domestic violence at the hands or are considering separation or a divorce from your partner, please do not hesitate to contact a family law solicitor for advice.

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