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The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, often known as Clare’s Law, is named after Clare Wood.
Clare, 36, a mother of one, was murdered by her former partner George Appleton. He raped her, strangled her, and then set her body on fire. She was found three days later. Appleton hanged himself five days later after the murder before police could get to him. Clare never knew that he had a history of violence against women.
The scheme is designed to protect potential victims from an abusive situation before it ends in tragedy.
The scheme allows the police to disclose information about a partners’ previous history of domestic abuse or violent acts.
To make an application, you will need to contact Cleveland Police. You can do this by visiting your nearest police station or call 101. However, if you believe there is an immediate risk of harm, then please dial 999.
After you have contacted Cleveland Police, we will take your details, your current partner’s details, and details of your relationship. The scheme is for anyone in an intimate relationship regardless of gender or sexuality. This is known as ‘Right to Ask’. Cleveland Police will then complete a risk assessment of your current status. You can even request the information if you are worried about a family member or friend. This is known as ‘right to know’.
Once the relevant information has been gathered, a specially trained officer will organise a face to face meeting with you. The officer will confirm your identity, and discuss your application with you in more detail.
Forms of ID that are acceptable:
*Household utility bill
The information will then be passed to a group of risk assessors, who in turn will conduct checks on Police systems both locally and nationally. A multi agency meeting will be held to discuss all the information. A decision will then be made to how much information can be provided.
The officer will then organise another meeting with you to finally disclose the relevant information. Please be advised though that if you do receive information about your partner, it must be treated as confidential. It is only given to you so that you can make an informed decision about your future relationship. It is also an offence to wilfully give false or malicious information to the police, and if you do you may be liable for criminal proceedings.
The officer will decide how your disclosure is given to you, in line with safeguarding procedures, and specific needs if you are at risk.
It might even be that someone has requested the information on your behalf. If after their request it is found that Cleveland Police think you may be at risk, you will still be informed of this by the Police as who have a duty to safeguard you.
If you do feel that you need to make an application, but are frightened to do so, or unsure, then please contact some of the organisations listed on our website under ‘SERVICE PROVIDERS’. Your call to them will be treated in confidence, and they may be able to advise you on your situation, or even offer you alternative advice.
Remember, no person should suffer domestic abuse!!
Clare's Law Document