Clare’s Law came into force across England and Wales in March 2014, following the murder of Clare Wood who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend. Clare’s ex-partner had a history of threats, harassment, and violence against women.

Clare lived in Salford and was tragically murdered by her former partner, George Appleton in February 2009. Throughout Clare’s relationship with Mr Appleton, she made many reports to the police about Mr Appleton’s behaviour including sexual assault, criminal damage, harassment, and threats to kill.

During the murder investigation, it came to light to the family of Clare that Mr Appleton had a significant history of violence to women in the form of threats, harassment, and kidnapping. The family were also informed that Mr Appleton spent six months in prison for breach of a restraining order, and a year later in 2003 for three years for harassment towards a woman. None of this information was known to Clare or her family prior to the murder investigation. Following Clare’s death, her family tirelessly campaigned for a change in legislation to protect individuals like Clare and to prevent this from happening to other victims.

Clare’s Law considers different definitions of domestic abuse; abuse is not limited to physical abuse. Domestic abuse can take form by harassment, verbal abuse, stalking, psychological threats, manipulation, sexual assault, or violent behaviour. Domestic abuse does not recognise age, race, ethnicity or religious backgrounds, class, sexuality, or disability.

Clare’s Law – Right to Know and Right to Ask

There are two elements to Clare’s Law:

The first is the right to ask element. This enables a person to request information from the police about a partner’s previous history to see if there has previously been history of domestic violence and/or violent acts. You have a right to ask the police no matter if your enquiry relates to a heterosexual or same-sex relationship so long as you are aged 16 or older.

The second part is the right to know. This allows police the freedom to proactively disclose any information they may hold about whether a perpetrator has a new partner and a history of domestic violence and/or violent acts.

If the findings show that the individual has a record of violent behaviour or there is something that shows you could be at risk of harm, the police will consider sharing this with you.

A disclosure request can be made by the following people:

1. Someone who has concerns that their partner may harm them;

2. A third party such as a parent, neighbour or friend who has concerns about an individual’s safety.

To make a request under Clare’s Law you can call 101, make a request online or visit your local police station. The application form is straightforward; the police will require you to disclose personal information such as your name, date of birth, address and contact number. They will ask you what the safest way to contact you is, so they are able to keep the request confidential. Once the application form has been completed, the Police will complete their initial checks and conduct enquiries with other partner agencies. If the police find a record of abusive offences or they feel there is a risk of abuse or violence, the police will consider sharing this information. If a third party has requested this information on behalf of someone they are concerned about, the police will ascertain whether they are able to disclose this information and whether they have the ability to keep the victim safe.

Clare’s Law exists to help to prevent all types of domestic abuse and to provide individuals with insight should they feel unsafe or at risk with their partner. The legacy of Clare’s Law is a reminder of the urgent need for continued awareness, education, and action in addressing and eradicating domestic abuse in all its forms.

If you are in immediate danger, please ensure you call the police on 999. If it is too dangerous to speak, the operator will ask you to cough or make another audible sound to indicate you require their assistance. If you are too frightened to make a sound, the call will be put through to an automated system which will ask the caller to press 55 if they are in danger. To enable the police to be dispatched, the caller will need to press 55.

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