Clare’s Law – advice for all
The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS) – commonly known as ‘Clare’s law’ – allows individuals to ask the police to check whether a new or existing partner has a violent past (the ‘right to ask’). If police checks show that a person may be at risk of domestic violence from their partner, the police will consider disclosing the information.
The aim of the scheme is to give people an opportunity to make enquiries about an individual who they are in a relationship with, or who is in a relationship with someone they know, and there is a concern that the individual may be abusive towards their partner.
If police checks show that the individual has a record of offences relating to abuse or there is other information to indicate the person you know is at risk, the police will consider sharing this information with the person(s) best placed to protect the potential victim.
The best way forward is to contact the police via 101 and log the request for a disclosure, this will then be picked up and dealt with according by the police. The police will contact the person making the request and will further discuss the concerns and decide whether it is appropriate for any additional information to be shared in order to help protect the person who is in the relationship with the individual who may be at risk.
Clare’s Law aims to enable potential victims to make an informed choice on whether to continue the relationship, and provides help and support to assist the potential victim when making that informed choice.
Clare’s Law in Manchester
The DVDS has been in place in Manchester since September 2012. The number of requests has been increasing over recent years but GMP is keen to ensure that all members of the public are aware of their right to ask whether their partner or ex-partner poses a risk to them.
Applications can be made by males or females over the age of 16-years-old in heterosexual or same-sex relationships. If police checks show that the partner or ex-partner has a record of abusive behaviour or there is other information to indicate the applicant may be at risk, a multi-agency decision will be taken on what information should be shared.
Both domestic abuse victims and offenders can be from any background with it affecting people of any gender, ethnicity or sexual orientations. If people have concerns for whatever reason about a romantic partner there is no shame in making a request under the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme. All requests are dealt with sensitively with police establishing a safe way to contact the applicant and any disclosure being made in person.
A third party, such as a family member, neighbour or friend, can also make an application if they are concerned about someone they know, but they would not necessarily be the person to receive any information. It may be more appropriate for someone else to receive any disclosure, such as the person they have enquired on behalf of or someone who it is considered is better able to protect that person from harm.
In addition to the ‘right to ask’ there is also the ‘right to know’ which gives the police the mechanism to proactively disclose information to someone who has formed a relationship with someone who has a history of domestic abuse if it is considered that that person is at risk of harm. Similarly, to a request made under the ‘right to ask’, a multi-agency decision will be made whether it is lawful, proportionate and necessary to release any information.
To request information under Clare’s Law from GMP vist their Make a Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS) application web page at www.gmp.police.uk/request-information-under-clares-law
You can also visit your nearest police station. All an applicant will need to do is provide the name, address and date of birth of the victim and police will make initial checks to establish if there are any immediate concerns.
For further information on domestic abuse, call the Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247 or visit the website www.sittingrightwithyou.co.uk.
Home Office guidance can be found on their website at www.gov.uk/domestic-violence-disclosure-scheme
The MSB has adopted the GMSP procedures in relation to the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS) and these can be found at greatermanchesterscb.proceduresonline.com