Over 150 people use Clare’s Law since October launch

More than 150 people have requested details of their partner’s violent history since Clare’s Law was rolled out to Scotland in October.

Friday, 1st January 2016, 12:00 am
Clare Wood was strangled and set on fire by her boyfriend, who had a history of domestic violence. Picture: PA
Clare Wood was strangled and set on fire by her boyfriend, who had a history of domestic violence. Picture: PA

There are a further 71 cases in which Police Scotland consider they have the “power to tell” a member of the public that his or her partner has a domestic violence record.

The scheme is named after 36-year-old Clare Wood, who was strangled and set on fire by her former boyfriend, George Appleton, in Greater Manchester in 2009. She did not know he had a history of domestic violence.

Also known as the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, it was introduced in England and Wales last year.

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There were 156 applications from members of the public in Scotland in the first few weeks of the scheme, which was rolled out in Scotland on 1 October.

Twenty of these were in Fife and seven in Tayside, according to police figures obtained by the Dundee Courier.

Out of the 227 bids before Police Scotland between October 1 and November 18, 35 were approved in that period and seven resulted in information being released.

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said the process takes up to 45 days, so a decision has not yet been made in the majority of the 227 cases.

She added: “Each request is considered by a multi-agency panel to determine whether disclosure is lawful, necessary and proportionate to protect the individual from their partner.”

The figures include the “right to ask”, where information is requested, and “power to tell”, where police can tell potential victims about a threat without being prompted.

Dundee has the worst domestic violence record in Scotland, with 2,525 incidents reported in 2014-15 – a higher proportion of the population than places such as Glasgow, it emerged in October.

Among the “horrific” incidents were “honour” violence and abuse that lasted nearly 50 years.

Police Scotland deputy chief constable Rose Fitzpatrick said the scheme is about allowing individuals to protect themselves and their families from harm, as well as offering support.

“We want to stop domestic abuse in all its forms and this scheme takes us closer to that aim. Help is also available for the abuser,” she added.

“They have the opportunity to take responsibility for their actions. If they don’t, we will.”