Clare’s Law Trial Begins
July 16, 2012
The Fresh Outlook
As Clare’s Law comes into force in the Gwent Police area on Monday, domestic violence charity Refuge criticises the scheme.
A pilot disclosure scheme which enables people to request a police check to see if a partner or former partner has a history of violence has begun in the Gwent Police area.
The scheme, dubbed ‘Clare’s Law’ in memory of Clare Wood who was killed by a violent partner in 2009, will enable anyone to request a police check if they suspect their partner has a violent background. If the police checks find that a person is at risk of domestic violence then police will consider disclosing the information.
36-year-old Clare Wood, from Salford, Greater Manchester, was killed by former boyfriend George Appleton who had a history of violence. Ms Wood made several complaints to police prior to her death. Appleton was later found hanged. Since then her father, Michael Brown, has campaigned for people to have more right to know about a partner’s violent past.
Carmel Napier, the chief constable of Gwent who is responsible for domestic violence for the Association of Chief Police Officers said: “The domestic violence disclosure scheme is intended to empower people to make informed decisions to protect themselves and their children when getting involved with a new partner.
“It will also allow the police to act in the best interests of people they believe could be at risk of violence by sharing information of a partners’ violent past.”
However, domestic violence charity Refuge is critical of the scheme, saying most perpetrators are not known to the police and efforts would be better spent improving how police respond to calls for help.
As well as the Gwent force, the scheme will also be trialled in Greater Manchester, Nottinghamshire and Wiltshire. The pilot will end in September 2013.
By Sarah Hill
[Image courtesy of olga.palma]