Domestic Violence and Abuse Disclosure Scheme explained

By Lenore Rice

The PSNI responded to 29,676 incidents of domestic abuse in Northern Ireland in 2017, the highest amount in 13 years. Of those incidents 12,803 contained one or more crimes.

The Domestic Violence and Abuse Disclosure Scheme (DVADS) allows individuals, or a concerned relative or friend, to make enquiries about someone they are in a relationship with, where they have a concern that the individual may be violent or abusive.

Prior to the introduction of this scheme it was difficult for individuals to find out if a new partner had any prior convictions for violence or domestic abuse. An application form can now be completed which will result in the PSNI conducting checks and meeting with the applicant. At the end of the process a decision will be made as to whether or not a disclosure will be made. The Police will only share information with the person at risk, even if the application is made by a concerned family member or friend. No information will be passed to such applicants. The police will not typically provide detailed information about the partner’s previous offending behaviour, but they will be advised if there is a risk of domestic violence and abuse so that they can make an informed choice about whether or not to continue with the relationship.

The scheme also gives the police the ‘power to tell’ both men and women, who are potentially at risk of abuse from their partner, about that partner’s past, without the need for an application to have been made by a member of the public in the first instance.

Click here to complete a DVADS application form.

If you need to speak to a solicitor specialising in domestic abuse issues, including making applications for emergency and subsequent Court Orders including Non-molestation and Occupation Orders, Injunctions and Matrimonial Home rights to protect you and your children's interests, click here to contact Wilson Nesbitt solicitors in Belfast or Bangor.