Clare’s Law – your right to know if someone has an abusive past
Main article content
On day nine of the 16 days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence we’re talking about Clare’s Law- the right to ask if someone has been violent in a previous relationship.
Clare’s Law, officially known as the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, gives anyone a right to ask the police if they believe that they, or a friend or relative, is in a relationship with someone that could be abusive towards them.
It was named after Clare Wood, who was strangled and set on fire at her home in Greater Manchester in 2009 by her ex-boyfriend, who had a history of violence against women.
Her father, Michael Brown, campaigned for the introduction of Clare's Law as he was convinced she would still be alive had she known the full extent of his previous behaviour.
As a result of his campaign, the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme was introduced in 2014. The scheme gives people the chance to ask for the information we hold on a person in relation to domestic abuse offences and convictions.
There are two functions- a right to ask and a right to know. The right to ask allows someone to as the police about a partner’s history in relation to domestic violence or violent acts, and under the right to know the police can proactively disclose information in particular circumstances.
You can use the information to:
- Keep you safe
- Keep children and those involved safe
- Ask what support is available
- Ask for advice on how to keep yourself safe.
Every request under Clare’s Law is thoroughly checked by a panel made up of police, probation services and other agencies to ensure information is only passed on where it is lawful, proportionate and necessary. In specific situations where there is an urgent need to disclose information officers may circumvent the panel and disclose the information immediately to the person at risk.
Information will only be given to the person best placed to protect the potential victim, and who needs to know the details to keep them safe. For example, you are a third-party applicant who is worried about someone else, you may not be the best person to receive the information.
We will always aim to keep the confidentiality of the applicant and plan all disclosures to minimise the risk of harm to those concerned.
If information is given to you, it must be understood that it's only so that you can protect yourself, or someone you know. For safety purposes, we ask you not to share the information unless an officer has agreed for you to do so. If you do, you can be prosecuted under the Data Protection Act.
If you are in Derbyshire, you can make a request by filling out our online form here: https://www.derbyshire.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/daa/domestic-abuse/alpha2/request-information-under-clares-law/.
If you are a victim of abuse or if you have concerns about someone you can report it online here, www.derbyshire.police.uk/reportdomesticabuse or by calling 101. If you're deaf or hard of hearing, use our textphone service on 18001 101.
On social media, you can also contact us through Facebook, send us a private message to www.facebook.com/DerbyshireConstabulary or direct message our contact centre on Twitter, @DerPolContact.
In an emergency which is ongoing, or where life is in danger, call 999 immediately. If you're deaf or hard of hearing, use our textphone service 18000 or text us on 999 if you’ve pre-registered with the emergencySMS service. The Silent Solution can help you if speaking could put you or someone else in danger.
There are also partner support services local to Derbyshire who can help you. You can find their details on our website here: https://www.derbyshire.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/daa/domestic-abuse/support-helplines/.