Clare's Law means people can be told of partner's violent past

Clare Wood's murder led to the launch of Clare's Law
Clare Wood's murder led to the launch of Clare's Law

West Yorkshire Police is encouraging people to use their right to ask whether their partner or ex-partner has a history of domestic abuse.

Clare's Law was created following a campaign by Michael Brown, whose daughter Clare Wood was strangled and set on fire in 2009 by her ex-boyfriend George Appleton.

The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme was rolled out across the country in 2014 after a trial in Manchester.

The number of requests and disclosures is rising year on year with 101 "right to ask" requests and 46 disclosures in 2017 compared to 68 requests and 21 disclosures in 2016.

But West Yorkshire Police wants to ensure everyone is aware of their rights and officially launched an awareness-raising campaign today at a multi-agency conference at Leeds City Museum.

It comes as the government published its draft Domestic Abuse Bill earlier this week.

Applications can be made by anyone over the age of 16 in heterosexual or same-sex relationships.

If checks show the partner or ex-partner has a record of abusive behaviour or there is other information to indicate the applicant may be at risk, a multi-agency decision will be taken on what information should be shared.

Superintendent Jon Morgan, of West Yorkshire Police’s Safeguarding Central Governance Unit, said all requests would be dealt with sensitively and there was no shame in making a request.

However disclosures have to be carefully considered to ensure they are "lawful, proportionate and necessary."

He added: "Where it is decided that it is appropriate for information to be disclosed, this allows potential victims to make an informed choice as to whether to continue with the relationship.

“Both domestic abuse victims and offenders can be from any background with it affecting people of all genders, ethnicities and sexual orientations.

A third party, such as a family member, neighbour or friend, can also make an application, however they may not be the person to get the information.

Police can also disclose information under the "right to know" where someone has formed a relationship with someone who has a history of domestic abuse and could be at risk of harm.

West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Mark Burns-Williamson said: “Support for victims and survivors runs through every aspect of my Police and Crime Plan and this also extends to any preventative measures which can be taken to remove people from abusive relationships at the first opportunity."

For more information visit: www.westyorkshire.police.uk/clareslaw.