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Worried that someone you know might have a history of domestic abuse? Claire’s Law can help you

by Guy Murphy

If you are are worried that your partner or ex-partner has a previous history of abuse, or if you’re worried a friend, neighbour or family member is at risk of abuse, you/they have the right to know if they have an abusive past.

The right to know is commonly known as Claire’s Law, or more formally the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS), as was formally rolled out in England and Wales in 2014 and is named after Clare Wood, who was murdered by her abusive ex-boyfriend in 2009.

Under Clare’s Law, you have the right to:

Apply for information about their current or ex-partner because they are worried, they may have a history of abuse and are a potential risk to them.

Request information about the current or ex-partner of a friend or relative because you’re worried, they might be at risk.

What happens when an application is made?

The police will assess if the person named in the application is a risk to their partner based on previous violence or abuse convictions. They will seek support from the Domestic Abuse Advocate/IDVA service if a domestic abuse professional is required for the visit. The survivor may need support following disclosure.

When might a DVDS not be needed?

When a full police disclosure has been obtained by children’s social care. The Social Worker can share basic details of risk, omitting any names. This will ensure that victims are aware that there is a domestic abuse history.

The GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018 do not prevent, or limit, the sharing of information for the purposes of keeping children and young people safe.

How to make a request

A Clare’s Law request can be made by calling 101, online or at a police station. Online requests can be made at: https://www.merseyside.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/daa/domestic-abuse

For further information visit www.clares-law.com

Where can I turn for help?

If you, your child, or anyone in the family are at immediate risk of harm, you should contact the police urgently, call 999. If you are not at immediate risk but are concerned, please contact one of the services listed below:

Knowsley Council Safer Communities Service (Specialist Domestic Abuse Service)
Tel: 0151 443 2610


Knowsley Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub

Tel: 0151 443 2600

The First Step (Specialist Domestic Abuse Service)

Tel: 0151 548 3333

Website: www.thefirststep.org.uk

Savera UK

Helpline 0800 107 0726


Support is also available through:

  • National Domestic violence Helpline 0808 2000 247
  • Men’s Advice Line 0808 801 0327
  • LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline 0800 999 5428