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Lancashire introduces ‘Clare’s Law’

Chris Satori
A Scheme which allows the public to formally enquire about someone that they are in an intimate relationship with, or who is in a relationship with someone they know, has been rolled out  across Lancashire from Saturday 8 March 2014.

The National Domestic Abuse Disclosure Scheme, more widely known as ‘Clare’s Law’, will allow those who are concerned about the violent or abusive history of their partner to contact the police and request information.

In practice, this information may be disclosed via a request from a member of the public - known as the ‘right to ask’ - or by an agency where a proactive decision is made to consider disclosing the information in order to protect a potential victim at risk. This is known as the ‘right to know’.

If subsequent police checks show that a person may be at risk of domestic abuse from their partner based on their history, the police will consider disclosing the information.

Head of Lancashire Constabulary’s Public Protection Unit, Detective Superintendent Ian Critchley said: “Sadly we know only too well the devastating consequences that domestic abuse has and so we hope that Clare’s Law will that help to protect potential victims of domestic abuse and prevent further crime.

“The scheme is a preventative measure and enables potential victims to take control of their life and make an informed decision about whether to stay with somebody or not.”

A disclosure under this scheme can be made by:

    Someone who has concerns that their partner may harm them
    A third party, such as a parent, neighbour or friend who has concerns about someone’s safety.

To apply for the type of information covered by Clare’s Law, members of the public can call the police on 101, visit their nearest police station or approach a police officer.

Calls for the introduction the scheme came following the tragic death of Clare Wood, who was murdered by her former partner in Greater Manchester in 2009. Her partner had three previous convictions under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.

Ironically, Clare's Law would not have saved Clare Wood. At 36 had already left George Appleton, but he would not accept it and she could get no protection from him. In the months before her murder she had repeatedly contacted Greater Manchester Police MP claiming Appleton had caused criminal damage, harassed, threatened to kill and sexually assaulted her.

She had a panic alarm installed at her home after making an allegation of attempted rape against Appleton, who was arrested a week before her death for smashing down her front door. He came back, yet again, and strangled her and set fire to her body, then hanged himself.

A pilot scheme was launched with four other police forces; Greater Manchester, Gwent, Wiltshire and Nottingham.

Lancashire's Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw added: "Domestic abuse devastates lives, and it is vitally important that here in Lancashire we take every step to ensure people do not become victims.

"I want sufferers to feel empowered to take the step and break free of relationships which are, or potentially could be, abusive. Clare's Law is an important step in helping people do that at the earliest possible stage. Anyone who feels they, or someone they know, may be at risk, can get the information they need to make an informed decision about the relationship.

"This legislation has been introduced as a direct result of campaigning following the tragic death of Clare Wood, and demonstrates why it is so important to listen to victims, learn from experience, and act on it. I am committed to doing that in Lancashire."

The launch of the scheme coincided with International Women’s Day, also on Saturday, 8 March.

You can find out more about the scheme and what it involves at: