The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, or Clare’s Law, which gives people the right to know or ask if their partner has a history of violence, has been used thousands of times during the pandemic, according to the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics.
The law is named after mum-of-one Clare Wood who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in February 2009. The 36-year-old was strangled and set on fire at her home in Salford, by George Appleton, who had a record of violence against women.
Following an inquest into her death, Clare’s dad Michael Brown campaigned alongside Bauer Media reporter Michelle Livesey for a law that would allow people the “right to know” about a person’s history of violence.
He always maintained his daughter would still be alive had she known more about Appleton’s background.
Clare’s Law, which was rolled out in England and Wales in 2014 on International Women’s Day, enables police to disclose normally confidential information about a person’s criminal history to someone deemed to be at risk of future abuse.
The latest Domestic Abuse statistics show in the year ending March 2021 there were 12,192 ‘right to know’ applications applied for in England and Wales. 6,405 of those ‘right to know’ applications resulted in a disclosure being given.
In the same period there were 17,916 ‘right to ask’ applications made in England and Wales, with 7,037 resulting in a disclosure.
‘Jasmine’ fled an abusive relationship after using Clare’s Law, she told us:
“When I got the disclosure, to say I was shocked was an understatement. I was shocked about what came up, the criminal history. It gave me a better picture of who the person I was dating was, and made me realise this is not someone I wanted to spend my future with.
“After receiving the disclosure I was referred to a domestic violence programme and was offered courses and counselling. It just helped me get back into a good head space.
“Knowing what I know now, I could still be in a relationship not knowing about this person’s record. It is quite scary to think this is who I could’ve been dating so I’m really happy to have the information, just so I can make better decisions for myself.”
Click here for more information on how to make a Clare’s Law application.