Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 25 October 2014

Clare's Law set for national launch

The scheme was named after Clare Wood, who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend George Appleton at her home in Salford in February 2009 (Greater Manchester Police/PA)

A pilot scheme to protect women from domestic violence by a partner will be extended nationwide.

Clare's Law was trialled for 12 months from September 2012 to allow women to check police records to see if a partner has a violent past.

It was named after Clare Wood, 36, who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend George Appleton at her home in Salford in February 2009.

The mother of one had met Appleton on Facebook, unaware of his history of violence against women including repeated harassment, threats and the knifepoint kidnapping of another ex-girlfriend.

The law is expected to take effect from March.

Home Secretary Theresa May told The Sun that 88 women were killed by a violent partner or ex-partner last year, and said there was "considerable confusion" about when or if police can share information on someone's violent past with the public.

She said: "Domestic abuse shatters lives - Clare's Law provides people with the information they need to escape an abusive situation before it ends in tragedy.

"The national scheme will ensure that more people can make informed decisions about their relationship and escape if necessary. This is an important step towards ensuring we do better by women like Clare Wood in the future."

The pilot scheme ran in Greater Manchester, Gwent, Wiltshire and Nottingham, where The Sun said around 400 women were given information.

Wiltshire Police revealed that, since the scheme was first piloted in the county, a total of 118 applications for disclosure have been made, with 22 disclosures having been granted.

These include 39 Right to Ask and 79 Right to Know applications.

Wiltshire Police also piloted Domestic Violence Protection Orders.

They were one of three police force areas - along with Greater Manchester and West Mercia - to trial the scheme which ensures that perpetrators of domestic violence are banned from molesting a victim, or going near their home, for up to 28 days.

Since the start of the Home Office-led pilot in Wiltshire in July 2011, a total of 246 DVPOs have been applied for in court, with 208 of those granted.

Wiltshire Police Chief Constable Pat Geenty said: "I fully support today's decision from the Home Office and am proud that Wiltshire Police, along with a number of our partner agencies, have played such an integral part in the inception of both the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme and Domestic Violence Protection Orders.

"Wiltshire Police remains committed to supporting victims and targeting the perpetrators of domestic abuse.

"I must commend the endeavours of my staff, as well as those who work for our partner agencies, for their commitment and drive in ensuring the success of these pilot schemes."

Javed Khan, chief executive of charity Victim Support said: "We have seen first-hand how devastating cases of domestic violence can be for victims and their families, so we welcome the roll-out of Clare's Law and the ongoing commitment to help prevent these abhorrent crimes.

"Early identification to stop domestic abuse before it escalates is crucial, and finding out who is the most at risk of harm is critical to protecting them.

"It is crucial that victims of domestic violence, who often face many barriers to reporting their abuse, are given the support they need both before and after a disclosure has been made, so they can make an informed choice about what to do next."

Home Secretary Theresa May said in a written ministerial statement: "I am determined to see reductions in domestic violence and abuse and the Government's updated Violence against Women and Girls Action Plan sets out our approach for achieving that.

"The Government is committed to ensuring that the police and other agencies have the tools necessary to tackle domestic violence, to bring offenders to justice, and ensure victims have the support they need to rebuild their lives."

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz