A pilot scheme which will allow men and women to find out about the violent convictions of their partners has begun in South Wales and three police forces in England.
The law has been dubbed ‘Clare’s law’ after Clare Wood, a 36-year old mother from Salford who was repeatedly harassed by George Appleton, a man she met on the internet.
Mr Appleton went on to repeatedly breach the terms of a court order against him, before murdering Ms Wood and setting her body on fire. Mr Appleton then committed suicide.
After her death it was revealed that Mr Appleton had a violent past and had attacked previous girlfriends, kidnapping one former partner at knifepoint.
Ms Wood’s family have since campaigned for a change in the law to prevent the tragic circumstances of Clare’s death from reoccurring.
The Government have responded by announcing the implementation of the pilot scheme in Gwent, Manchester, Nottingham and Wiltshire.
Under the proposed Clare’s Law, anyone can ask their local police force to check whether a new or existing partner has a violent past. If the police uncover convictions which they believe puts that person at risk then they will have the right to disclose that information.
Carmel Napier is the chief constable of Gwent police.
“The domestic violence disclosure scheme is intended to empower people to make informed decisions to protect themselves and their children when getting involved with a new partner,” he told the BBC.
“It will also allow the police to act in the best interests of people they believe could be at risk of violence by sharing information of a partners’ violent past,” he added.
Launching the pilot scheme, Home Secretary Theresa May said: “This pilot is designed to prevent tragic incidents from happening, such as that of Clare Wood, by ensuring that there is a clear framework in place with recognised and consistent processes for disclosing information to the public.”
Clare’s Law pilot to stop domestic violence begins (The Home Office)
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