The new law which will allow people to check the police record of their partners is to be rolled out across the whole of England and Wales after a successful pilot scheme.
Clare’s Law is named after Clare Wood who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend George Appleton. Though he had a history of violence against women, Clare and her family were not able to find this out until it was too late.
The scheme has been running in Greater Manchester, Wiltshire, Nottingham and Gwent for about a year and is expected to become operational throughout the whole country from March.
Home Secretary Theresa May said the new law would arm people with the information they need to escape from a potentially violent situation before it ended in tragedy. Every request for information will be checked by a panel of police, probation officers and other agencies before being approved, while potential victims will receive support from trained police officers and advisers.
Domestic violence charities are divided about Clare’s Law. Victim Support has welcomed the plans saying early identification of possible domestic violence is crucial, but Refuge is opposed to the rollout of the new law, saying that while it may help a few victims, the majority will not benefit. It has called for a public inquiry into the response of police to domestic violence.
New Domestic Violence Protection Orders will be rolled out across the country at the same time and will be issued by the police if they have reasonable grounds to believe a victim is at risk of future violent behaviour. It will then go before a magistrates’ court to be heard within 48 hours.