Clare’s Law used by people worried about partner’s past

CLARE'S LAW ... allows police to warn people if their partners have a history of domestic violence. It is named after Clare Wood, whose father Michael Brown, pictured, campaigned for it for two years.
CLARE'S LAW ... allows police to warn people if their partners have a history of domestic violence. It is named after Clare Wood, whose father Michael Brown, pictured, campaigned for it for two years.

PEOPLE in Hartlepool worried their partner may have an abusive past are seeking the help of a law aimed at revealing their violent history.

Clare’s Law was brought in last year giving police powers to disclose information as to whether a person has been involved in domestic violence in the past.

The scheme, rolled out across the country last March, also saw the launch of Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPOs) used to prevent a perpetrator from contacting their victim.

Cleveland Police has received 32 applications for information under Clare’s Law, of which 14 disclosures were made. Durham Police received 96, of which 48 disclosures were made. This figure includes people provided with information under the “right to ask rule” as well as those approached by police under the “right to know” basis.

During the same time, officers in Cleveland made 32 requests for DVPO orders to magistrates, of which 31 were granted while Durham Police made 23, with all 23 being granted.

A spokesman for Cleveland Police, said: “Tackling domestic abuse remains an absolute priority for Cleveland Police and officers work tirelessly with partner organisations to reduce this crime and safeguard victims.

“Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPOs) are a welcome and valuable addition to the tools we have at our disposal to reduce domestic abuse and we have already had a good deal of success with our applications for DVPOs.

“We will continue to implement these where appropriate, in a bid to keep people safe and allow them some time to access any necessary support and to consider their options.

“Along with forces nationally, we have also had a number of requests for disclosure and again, where appropriate, we have released information in certain cases where we believe there could be a risk to the applicant.

“Campaigns to raise awareness of and to tackle domestic abuse will continue year round, with valuable input from specialist organisations and local support services.”

Clare’s Law, named after Clare Wood, was brought in following her murder in 2009. The 36-year-old was strangled and set on fire by her ex-boyfriend George Appleton at her home in Salford, Greater Manchester. Unbeknown to Miss Wood, he had a history of violence towards women.

According to a report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), there were 269,700 domestic abuse-related crimes in England and Wales between 2012 and 2013, with 77 women killed by their partners or ex-partners.

On average the police receive an emergency call relating to domestic abuse every 30 seconds and around eight per cent of recorded crime is made up of abuse in the home.

A spokesman for Durham Police said: “Every request under Clare’s Law is thoroughly checked by 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. Only police information is disclosed, and each case is individually risk assessed. Trained police officers and advisers are then on hand to support victims through the difficult and sometimes dangerous period.

“To date, Durham Constabulary has seen cases whereby people have been informed of a new partner’s violent past, which has provided them with the information needed to end the relationship. We have worked with specialist services like Harbour who have ensured their safety as the relationship ends.”

More information on domestic abuse can be found on Cleveland Police website at www.cleveland.police.uk or Durham Police website www.durham.police.uk or call 101.