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Clares Law - The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme

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What can you do if you suspect your partner - or the partner of a friend or loved one - has a history of violence?

Your right to ask the police about a partner's history

Under the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (commonly known as Clare’s Law), you have the right to ask whether a partner has a violent past.

The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme

This important piece of safeguarding legislation was introduced in 2014 following the death of Clare Woods. Clare was murdered by her partner who had a history of violence against women. Clare was not aware of his past and, at the time of her murder, the law did not permit her to find out his past.

After her death, Clare’s father campaigned to change the law; arguing that had Clare been aware of the risk to her safety, she could have left the relationship and saved her own life.

The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme is made up of two parts; the right to ask and the right to know.

The right to ask

Clare’s Law allows you to contact the police and ask if they know whether your partner, or the partner of a friend or family member, has a history of violence.

The right to know

Clare’s Law also allows the police to proactively tell you about a person’s history if they become aware that you are in a relationship with someone who has a history of violence, and you are at risk.

Clare’s Law: how to contact the police

If you are concerned that your partner - or the partner of a loved one or family member - may have a violent history and you believe they have the potential to be violent again, call the police on 101 and quote Clare’s Law. Alternatively, call in to your local police station, or speak to a police officer on the street.

Clare’s Law: disclosing information about your partner’s past

Before the Police disclose information about someone’s past they will carry out checks to confirm:

  • the identity of the person making the enquiry
  • what their concerns are
  • why they are making an application

The police will collect information and assess whether there is an immediate risk to you - or your friend or family member’s -  safety. They will consider:

  • the level of risk to the partner
  • the level of risk to the person asking for the check (if they are not the partner)
  • whether there are children involved
  • what information the police hold
  • whether it is necessary, lawful and appropriate for them to make a disclosure in order to safeguard someone from harm

They might also contact other agencies who may hold information that would help to assess the possible risks and decide on disclosure. When the checks are completed, the police will decide on whether disclosure can be made, and who it can be made to.

If there is information to disclose to you, the police can arrange for an independent domestic abuse support worker to also be involved, to provide support in any decisions you, or the person at risk, may want to make.

If the police are not able to make a disclosure to you, they will inform you of their decision.

Are you living in fear of domestic violence?

If you are living in fear of violence, or you think a friend or family member is, get help. You can make a report to police by calling 101. In an emergency, always dial 999.

If you prefer not to involve the police, you can contact IDAS, the largest specialist charity in Yorkshire providing support to people affected by domestic abuse and sexual violence.

Contact the IDAS helpline on 03000 110 110 or speak to them Monday to Friday between 3-6pm via their online Live Chat service.

To make a request for disclosure with West Yorkshire Police, visit

Get help with Domestic abuse: legal advice in Calderdale and Kirklees

If you are experiencing domestic abuse and need legal advice and representation, we are here to help. Contact any member of our family team in Halifax, Huddersfield or Brighouse.



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