Published: 12th March 2014
A new Domestic Violence Disclosure scheme for England and Wales has come into effect to help tackle domestic violence claims, by allowing people to contact the police to check if their partner has any previous history of domestic abuse.
The new scheme, known as 'Clare's Law', has been introduced to try and prevent future domestic attacks and to protect potential victims by providing background information on previous offenders. The scheme has been named after 36-year-old mother Clare Wood, who was killed in 2009 by an ex-boyfriend who had an unknown history of violence and who had previously served jail time for three years in 2002 for acts of abuse towards women.
Clare's father, Michael Brown, was said to be 'absolutely delighted' after years of campaigning for the scheme to be introduced, as he believes she would still be alive today had information regarding her ex-boyfriends past been available to her.
"I must admit it's tinged with a bit of emotion and a bit of sadness but we have got what we were fighting for - to bring protection into the country for half the population," said Mr Brown.
"I can remember standing outside the coroner's office feeling lost. I'd lost a daughter and I thought I'd lost the battle.
"I wish I'd known what I know now because I felt desolate and for the pendulum to swing so far around, that has put a smile back on my face, it's hardly worth believing.
"It's there to be used. Get it used, ask! If you are in a domestic violence situation or you think you could be seek advice and get out of there, because the ultimate is 120 women a year have lost their lives, mostly at a young age."
Since 2012, the scheme has been successfully piloted in four other areas, in Nottingham, Manchester, Wiltshire and Gwent, South Wales before being rolled out across the rest of the UK on Saturday 8th March, to coincide with international Women's Day 2014. It has been reported that the pilot scheme provided over 100 people with possible life-saving information, unbeknown to them about their partners.
"Clare's Law will give some help to those people who think they have a partner who may be acting in a way which suggests that they are somebody who is violent," said Home Secretary Theresa May.
"It enables that individual then to go to the police and they've got the right to ask for information about that partner. The police obviously have to think about that carefully, what information they give to the individual, and the support needs to be there for them.
"But it enables somebody to know whether their partner has a record of violence, and to be able to take a decision as to whether to stay with them or not."
Along with 'Clare's Law', DVPOs (Domestic Violence Protection Orders) have also been introduced to provide protection for victims immediately after a reported incident of domestic violence, stopping the offenders from having any contact with the victim for up to 28 days after the incident.
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