Clare's Law to be rolled out across England and Wales

By Lenore Rice

A scheme which allows people to check if their partners have any history of domestic violence is to be rolled out across all of England and Wales, after a pilot scheme launched in September 2012 was deemed to have been successful.

The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme has become known as Clare's Law, named after the woman who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in her home in February 2009. She was not aware that he had a history of violence against women. During the pilot of the scheme in four police areas there were 111 disclosures made, which were either triggered by a request, or by police deciding that circumstances justified that the information should be disclosed without any request having been made.

The scheme has received a mixed response from domestic abuse violence campaigners, with Refuge in particular criticising it for helping too few people. The charity believes that better results would be achieved by focusing on how police respond to domestic violence call outs and complaints. However, Javed Khan of Victim Support welcomes the move, saying "early identification to stop domestic violence is crucial."

The scheme is only being introduced in England and Wales, though the Scottish government has already said that it will be monitoring the success of the initiative and will consider how it can be adopted in Scotland. In Northern Ireland however, the Department for Justice has simply confirmed that there are no plans to introduce an alternative in the region.

If require legal advice in respect of the options available to you to deal with a violent or abusive partner in Northern Ireland contact one of the domestic violence solicitors in Belfast by calling 0800 840 1363.