Clare's Law

The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme

Commonly known as Clare’s Law, the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS) is named after Clare Wood who was murdered in 2009 by her boyfriend.

The DVDS gives members of the public a formal mechanism to make enquiries about an individual who they are in a relationship with, or who is in a relationship with someone they know, where there is a concern that the individual may be violent towards their partner. 

Anybody can make an enquiry, but information is only given to someone at risk or a person who is in a position to safeguard the victim.

The scheme is for anyone in an intimate relationship regardless of gender.

The intention is to give potential victims information about the history of their partner, so they can make an informed decision about the relationship.

Tell me more

Members of the public can make an application for a disclosure, known as the ‘right to ask’.

Anybody can make an enquiry, but information is only given to someone at risk or a person who is in a position to safeguard the victim.

The scheme is for anyone in an intimate relationship regardless of gender.

Partner agencies can also request disclosure is made of an individual’s past history where it is believed someone is at risk of harm. This is known as ‘right to know’.

If a potentially violent individual is identified as having convictions for violent offences, or information is held about their behaviour which reasonably leads the police and other agencies to believe they pose a risk of harm to their partner, a disclosure will be made. 

The intention is to give potential victims information about the history of their partner, so they can make an informed decision about the relationship.

Common Law allows for disclosure to be made to safeguard people and for potential victims to receive specialist support to help them deal with their relationship.

No, confidentiality will be maintained unless a disclosure takes place. If a disclosure does take place the subject may be informed that the applicant is to receive a disclosure about them. Risk assessments will take place for each disclosure.

Information about disclosure must be treated as confidential. It is only being given so that steps can be taken to protect people at risk. Applicants must not share this information with anyone else unless they have spoken to the police, or the person who gave them the information, and the police have agreed that it can be shared.

Members of the public who wish to make an application under Clare's Law can fill in an online form here. Alternatively you can call 101.

Details of services available to help and support victims of domestic abuse in Bournemouth, Dorset County and Poole can be found on the Dorset County Council website.

The Devil's Vice is a film exploring domestic violence which has been released as the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme is rolled out across all UK police forces. Please follow this link for full information.

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