Groundbreaking legislation allowing police to disclose details of a person’s abusive past to a potential partner has safeguarded 66 potentially vulnerable people in Nottinghamshire in six months, it can be revealed.
The news has been welcomed by Nottinghamshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping and his Deputy, national anti-violence advocate Chris Cutland who said lives could have already been saved thanks to the new policing powers.
Nottinghamshire was one of just a small number of police forces to take part in a 12-month pilot of Clare’s Law – the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme – which concluded in September 2013.
The scheme was rolled out nationally in March 2014 and it has now emerged that in the first six months of the country-wide take-up, a further 66 people in Nottinghamshire have received information to protect them from a potentially abusive relationship.
A total of 47 of those benefitting from the scheme were provided with information on a ‘right to ask’ basis which refers to a situation in which a member of the public requests information from the police.
The remaining number (19) was advised on a ‘right to know’ basis which refers to a situation in which the police receives information suggesting an individual could be at risk.
Commenting on the figures, Commissioner Paddy Tipping said: “Here in Nottinghamshire, we are constantly looking at ways we can improve our protection of vulnerable people to prevent them from entering a violent relationship. Experience shows us that it is much harder to reach a victim once they’ve committed themselves to an abusive partner; a victim for instance will suffer on average 35 physical assaults before ever seeking help from the police.
“If we can stop somebody making the wrong decision early on by giving them an informed choice, then we can save people’s lives and prevent them from embarking on a road that ultimately leads to destruction.
“Clare’s Law has been working successfully in Nottinghamshire for more than two years now. We are using these new powers in conjunction with many other early intervention schemes to increase our support to survivors in terms of enforcement and emotional recovery.”
Supt Helen Chamberlain said: “A police force’s primary job is to preserve life and keep people safe, and arming people with the information to protect themselves is one of many tactics we will use to do just that.
“There may be many people out there who are unaware that their new partner has a violent past. A violent or abusive person might wait months or even years to show their true colours, and by the time it happens the victim is often too frightened to speak out.
“The scheme empowers the police and potential victims to take early action in preventing violence.”
Clare’s Law is named after 36-year-old Clare Wood who was murdered by her estranged partner in 2009. By the time of her death, she had suffered months of sexual abuse and death threats before being strangled by George Appleton, who had a history of violence against women.
To make a request for information under the Disclosure Scheme, contact Nottinghamshire Police on 101. People can also visit their local police station or speak to a police officer.
Media Enquiries: Sallie Blair - 01283 821012 / 07702 541401
Posted on Friday 26th December 2014