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article image'Clare's Law' to roll out across England and Wales

By Gemma Fox     Nov 26, 2013 in World
London - A new law is set to be rolled out across England and Wales which will allow people to check the police records of their partners.
The scheme known as 'Clare's Law' has been piloted since September 2012 across Wiltshire, Greater Manchester and Nottinghamshire in England and also Gwent in Wales.
The scheme came into being after the death of Clare Wood who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend. Clare died in 2009 at her home in Salford (Manchester, England). The mother-of-one was unaware that ex-boyfriend George Appleton had a history of violence against women.
His terrifying catalogue of violence against women included threats, harassment and the knifepoint kidnapping of a previous ex-girlfriend.
George Appleton killed Clare Wood in 2009. He set fire to her after strangling her. He then went on to take his own life.
Clare's Law is aimed to provide a confidential disclosure to the partner or close relation or friend to the partner of someone who may be showing signs of being abusive. It is expected to be rolled across the whole of England and Wales in March 2014.
Purple Ribbon raising awareness to end domestic violence
Purple Ribbon raising awareness to end domestic violence
MesserWoland
From Greater Manchester Police's Clare's Law - The Domestic Abuse Disclosure Scheme
The aim of this scheme is to give members of the public a formal mechanism to make enquires 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 abusive offences, 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.
Michael Brown, father of Clare Wood, has welcomed the introduction of the scheme. He feels if such a scheme had existed previously it would have had the potential to have saved his daughters life. Following her death Mr Brown campaigned for a change in the law to protect women.
During the pilot scheme over 100 disclosures were given out across the four pilot areas. Each request for a disclosure goes through 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.
The scheme has received some criticism as not being enough to help women suffering from domestic violence. Police responses, particularly in the case of Clare Wood have been criticised as it's reported that police took 24 hours to respond to a 999 call made by Clare in the lead up to her death in 2009.
United Kingdom Home Secretary, Theresa May said on Monday:
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 one of a raft of measures this government has introduced to keep women and girls safe. The systems in place are working better but sadly there are still too many cases where vulnerable people are let down. Today is an important step towards ensuring we do better by women like Clare Wood in the future.
In Scotland no such scheme exists but a spokesperson for the Scottish Government said yesterday that the roll out of Clare's Law across England and Wales would be monitored to see if the same scheme could be considered for Scotland.
The Department of Justice in Northern Ireland have no plans to introduce a similar scheme there.
More about clares law, Murder, Domestic violence, clare wood, Theresa May
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