New “fight” against domestic violence through a domestic violence disclosure scheme in Wiltchire and Gwent.
A trial version of a new domestic violence disclosure scheme, enabling partners to be checked for past abuse is run in Wiltshire and Gwent. It is named Clare`s Law, after Clare Woods- a woman killed by a man, she met on Facebook in 2009, whose family found out later that this man – George Appelton had a history of a violent past, including the kidnap of a previous girlfriend.
According to the new scheme, both men and women will be able to check their partner`s past for domestic violence issues. If any other member of the family or a close friend is concerned, they can also apply to check if a certain person has previously been involved in domestic violence. The scheme aims at protecting people and if the person checked is found to have a history of any domestic violence, the police might consider disclosing this information to the enquirer in order to ensure the partner`s safely.
The intentions are that this scheme is extended to Nottingham and Manchester later this year, however there is no indications on setting up a date when this will be run nationally.
Carmel Napier – Chief Constable of Gwent Police and a leader on the domestic abuse issues at the Association of Chief Police Officers’ said that one of the key responsibilities of the police is to protect people from harm. That`s why this domestic violence disclosure scheme strives to encourage people to be well informed and protect themselves as well as their children, when entering into a relationship with a new partner. Accordin to Mr. Napier, the scheme will make it easier for the police to act in favour of the people, who believe they might be endangered by domestic abuse, by disclosing information about the partner`s violent past.
A domestic violence charity Refuge is one of the main critics of this scheme. They say this will not be useful, as a great part of the domestic abusers are not known to the police due to the fact that many victims are scared to report them. They suggest that in spite of running the new scheme, the police might work on improving their actions when called out for domestic violence incidents.