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What is Clare’s Law?

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

Clare’s Law gives you the right to ask about your husband, boyfriend or partner’s background.

…it gives anyone a right to ask the police if they believe that they or someone they know is in a relationship with an individual that could be abusive towards them, and is also known as the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS).

Under Clare’s Law there are two rights. The ‘right to ask’ and the ‘right to know’. You can: :
• apply for information about your current or ex-partner because you’re worried they may have a history of abuse and are a risk to you
• request information about the current or ex-partner of a friend or relative because you’re worried they might be at risk

This is called the ‘right to ask.’

You have a right to ask the police, no matter if your enquiry relates to a heterosexual or same-sex relationship, as long as you are 16 or older, and it enables the police to release information about any previous history of violence or abuse.

If police checks show that your current or ex-partner has a record of violent or abusive behaviour, and they believe you may be at risk, they may decide to share that information with you. The police will decide if sharing that information is reasonable and proportionate based on the risk of violence or harm.

The ‘right to know’ enables the police to make a disclosure on their own initiative if they receive information about the violent or abusive behaviour of a person that may impact on the safety of that person’s current or ex-partner. This could be information from a criminal investigation for example, or from another source of police intelligence.

Clare’s Law was created to help prevent all types of future domestic abuse, not only physical violence, as domestic abuse can take various forms. It is named after Clare Wood, who was murdered in 2009 by her ex-boyfriend. Her father campaigned for the law to be changed so that anyone has the right to ask the police about the criminal history of a partner they believe might be putting their own safety, or the safety of someone they know, at risk.

The guidance is now law which gives the legal ‘right to ask’ and will ensure the scheme is applied consistently across all police forces and will help increase the number of applications. Applications can be made with the police online, in person or by phone.