PEOPLE in Worcestershire are already using Clare's Law to find out whether their partner has a violent past, just a month after the scheme was launched.
Since the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme also known as "Clare’s Law" was launched on March 10, 16 people in West Mercia used their ‘Right to Ask’ the police whether a new or existing partner may have a violent past.
In the first month of the scheme in West Mercia two people used their ‘right to ask’ in South Worcestershire, five in North Worcestershire, three in Herefordshire, four in Shropshire and two in Telford & Wrekin.
Det Supt Stephen Cullen said "It is reassuring that people are using these new powers and we are continuing to encourage anyone with a concern that a new or existing partner may have a violent past to use their ‘right to ask’ the police if this is the case."
If records show that an individual may be at risk of domestic violence from a partner, the police will consider disclosing the information. A disclosure can be made if it is legal, proportionate and necessary to do so.
For example a mother or father could make an application on behalf of their daughter or son if they are concerned a new partner may be violent. If it is legal, proportionate and necessary to do so, information will be disclosed directly to the daughter or son concerned or to a third person for the purposes of protecting the son or daughter from domestic abuse.
In West Mercia two disclosures have been made. Other requests for disclosure are being processed.
The police can also use the ‘right to know’ to proactively disclose information to an individual in order to protect a potential victim of domestic abuse.
Det Supt Steve Cullen said:"'Clare's Law' allows victims to apply to us to understand what their partners past history may be, and where it is appropriate to do so we will disclose information in order that victims may make an informed decision around their own safety."
Anyone concerned about whether a new or existing partner has a violent past can visit the front desk of their nearest police station, ring 101 in the first instance or speak to a police officer. Information about the scheme will also be available online.
Domestic Violence Protection Orders – already in place in West Mercia as a pilot force - will also be rolled out nationally by June 2014.
Domestic abuse takes many forms and ultimately is about control. It is a pattern or any incident of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between people who are or have ever been, intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality. It can be psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional.
You may be experiencing domestic abuse if your partner doesn't allow you to control your finances, stops you seeing your family, controls your access to information, or even what you wear.