If you are in a relationship and you are worried that your partner may have been abusive in the past. Or if you’re concerned about a friend or relative who is in a relationship, or even if you are concerned about starting a new relationship the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, also known as Clare’s Law gives you the right to ask the police if there has a history of domestic abuse.
Subject to the condition that the information is kept confidential, you can use the information to keep yourself safe and to keep any children involved in the situation safe.
The aim of the scheme is to give you a formal mechanism to make enquiries about your partner if you are worried that they may have been abusive in the past.
If police checks show that your partner has a record of abusive behaviour, or there is other information to indicate that you may be at risk from your partner, the police will consider sharing this information with you. The police will disclose information only if it is lawful, necessary and proportionate to do so in the interests of protecting you or children from harm.
The scheme aims to help you to make a more informed decision on whether to continue a relationship and provides further help and support to assist you when making that choice.
You can make an application about your partner. You do not have to have any specific reason or concerns but are just being careful. Any concerned third party, such as your parent, neighbour or friend can also make an application if they are concerned about you. However, a third party person making an application would not necessarily receive information about your partner.
You should be aware that police checks or any disclosures made are not a guarantee of safety. If you receive a disclosure, it should be treated as confidential. It is only being given to you so that you can take steps to protect yourself. You must not share this information with anyone else unless you have spoken to the police, or the person who gave you the information and they have agreed with you that it will be shared.
To find out more about the scheme or to make an enquiry contact 101 and ask for your local police force. For more information visit www.westmercia.police.uk/clareslaw
If you believe there is an immediate risk of harm to yourself or someone, or it is an emergency, you should always call the police on 999.