Right to know law to tackle domestic violence

By Ian Dipple Tuesday 04 March 2014 Updated: 04/03 13:50

RESIDENTS will have the right to ask for information on a new or existing partner as part of new police powers to tackle domestic abuse.

The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, also known as Clare's Law, is being launched in West Mercia on Monday (March 10).

It has been trialled by other forces across the country and is named after Salford woman Clare Wood, who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend George Appleton who she met on Facebook but was unaware he had a history of violence against women.

The scheme means people concerned about a partner can ask police if they have a violent past. Parents can also make a request on behalf of a daughter or son.

If records show someone may be at risk of domestic violence police will consider sharing the information but only if it is legal, proportionate and necessary.

Police can also use the law to share information with an individual in order to protect them from becoming a victim of domestic abuse and organisations can also apply if they believe someone is at risk.

People can make a request for information by visiting a police station or calling 101. Anyone at an immediate risk of harm should call 999.

Det Supt Steve Cullen said: "Clare's Law' will allow victims to apply to us to understand what their partners past history may be, and where it is appropriate to do so we will disclose information in order that victims may make an informed decision around their own safety.

"Any disclosure will be part of a range of support measures Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police will put in place to support victims.

"We welcome the strengthening of the legislation to help us protect the most vulnerable from harm."

Bill Longmore, West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner, added: "We hope these new powers will give people more confidence to seek help when they suffer any domestic abuse."

Domestic abuse does not have to be physical or sexual and can include a partner not allowing the other to control their finances, stopping them seeing their family, controlling access to information or even what they wear.

For help and support call West Mercia Women's Aid 24 hour helpline on 0800 980 3331.

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