Dozens of women across Greater Manchester have been given life changing information following the introduction of the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS), better known as Clare’s Law.
Since the launch in September last year, 65 people have applied for a disclosure about an individual who they are in a relationship with, or who is in a relationship with someone they know (“right to ask”).
A further 25 applications have been submitted by agencies, where they have felt that somebody might be at risk (“right to know”).
Of the 90 “right to ask” and “right to know” applications received by Greater Manchester Police, 52 disclosures were made.
Thirty-one were non-disclosed, either because the partner did not have a record of violent offences or there was no information that posed a risk to the partner.
Clare’s Law was introduced in Greater Manchester in September 2012 following the tragic case of Clare Wood who was murdered by her former partner in Salford in 2009. Her partner had three previous convictions under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.
Tony Lloyd, Police and Crime Commissioner for Greater Manchester, said: “Clare’s Law is one of a number of measures being used to tackle domestic violence – a heinous crime which we hear the tragic consequences of time and time again. It has already seen some good results but we need to continue raising awareness of the scheme and work together to rid society of this terrible crime which has untold, long-lasting effects on victims and, importantly, long-lasting effects on their children.
“Tragically, it’s too late for Clare, but if Clare’s Law stops even just one woman facing the same fate than that is a lasting legacy which hopefully brings some comfort to her family.
“Everyone has the right to feel safe in their own home. If you are a victim of domestic violence, please don’t suffer in silence. Help is available and I encourage you to come forward so you can get the support and care you deserve.”
Detective Superintendent Phil Owen from the Public Protection Division of Greater Manchester Police said: “Sadly we know only too well the devastating consequences that domestic abuse has and we welcome any initiative that helps to protect victims of domestic abuse and prevent further crime.
“However, for an area as large and diverse as Greater Manchester we would have liked to have seen a greater take up either from those in a relationship or from friends, relatives or neighbours concerned about the possible risk posed to somebody they care about.
“The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme is a preventative measure and enables potential victims to take control of their life and make an informed decision about whether to stay with somebody or not. It may be that somebody is in a relationship but isn’t happy about some of the behaviour of their partner. If warning bells are ringing, then these are the types of people we want to hear from.”
Hazel Blears, the Labour MP for Salford and Eccles, who joined Clare Wood’s father Michael Brown in campaigning for the disclosure scheme, said: “Two women are killed every week by a current or former partner, and tragically, my constituent Clare Wood was one of them.
“Had she known about her partner’s violent past she would have been empowered to end the relationship at an early stage and that is why I campaigned for Clare’s Law.
“I’m told that women in Salford who have used the scheme have been glad they did – and I am pleased to see more is being done to publicise it.
“If that results in more women knowing they can use Clare’s Law to reduce the risk of becoming long-term victims of domestic abuse then it will have been well worthwhile.”
Clare’s Law can be used by anyone who has concerns about a partner’s abusive behaviour or concerns for somebody they know who may be in a relationship and at risk of violence by the partner.
Posters and leaflets will be distributed throughout Greater Manchester to raise awareness of the scheme.
For further information about the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, or to make a request for information under it, contact Greater Manchester Police on 101 or visit a police station. An officer will take details of what has prompted the enquiry and the nature of the relationship and will ask when and where it is safe to make contact again. The applicant will need to give their name, address and date of birth and some initial checks will be done to establish if there are any immediate concerns.
Following initial contact with the police, a face-to-face meeting may be set up to complete the application if deemed appropriate. This meeting will establish further details about the application in order to assess risk and confirm identity.
Working alongside the Prison Service, Probation Service and Social Services, the police will work as quickly as possible to complete checks.
A multi-agency meeting will then be set up to decide whether any disclosure is lawful, necessary and proportionate and if so, will decide who to disclose the information to and set up a safety plan tailored to the needs of the potential victim.
For further support on domestic abuse, visit endthefear.co.uk or call the Manchester Domestic Violence Helpline on 0161 636 7525.
If there is an immediate risk of harm to someone, or it is an emergency, dial 999.