Tuesday, March 4, 2014
An initiative giving people the power to find out if a partner has an abusive past is to be rolled out across Norfolk.
The introduction of Clare’s Law – or the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme – follows a 14-month pilot in four other police forces, which provided more than 100 people with potentially life-saving information.
From Saturday people with concerns about their partner’s history can request background information from Norfolk police.
Detective Superintendent Julie Wvendth, who heads Norfolk Constabulary’s Vulnerability and Partnerships Directorate, said: “Norfolk Constabulary has been monitoring the progress of Clare’s Law in the pilot forces and welcomes the wider roll-out on a national level.
“We are committed to supporting and protecting victims of domestic abuse and welcome any legislation that will assist us to do this.”
She added: “It may be that somebody is in a relationship but feels unhappy about some of the behaviour of their partner is showing.
“If warning bells are ringing, then we would want to hear from you.”
The move comes as the Association of Chief Police Officers launches its In Focus initiative on domestic abuse.
Clare’s Law – launched first in Greater Manchester, Gwent, Wiltshire and Nottingham – was named after Clare Wood, 36, who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend George Appleton in Salford in 2009. Ms Wood had been unaware of Appleton’s violent history.
From April 2013 to March 2014 there were 13,249 domestic incidents reported to Norfolk police, of which 3,358 were crimes. From April 2012 to March 2013 there were 13,089 domestic incidents reported, of which 3,210 were crimes.
Under Clare’s Law, as well as people being able to apply for information, police can proactively disclose information in prescribed circumstances. A third party with concerns can also make an information request. Each request will be thoroughly checked to ensure information is only passed on where it is lawful, proportionate and necessary.
In the summer Norfolk Constabulary is also due to implement the use of domestic violence protection orders to ban abusers from contacting vulnerable victims.
People can request information under Clare’s Law by calling 101 or visiting a police station public inquiry office.
Anyone with concerns they or someone they know is at risk of immediate harm should call the police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.