A scheme has been introduced that allows women to find out if their partner has a history of domestic violence.
The new scheme will allow police to disclose information to women who request to know if their partner has committed acts of violence in the past. It is hoped that access to this information will save many women from becoming victims of violence.
The scheme is known as Clare’s law in memory of 36-year-old Clare Wood who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in 2009. Clare’s father, Michael Brown, has campaigned tirelessly for the introduction of the new law. He is convinced that if his daughter had known about the violent history of her attacker and ex-boyfriend George Appleton, she would still be alive.
Clare was aware that George had a criminal record – for motoring offences. In actual fact he had been jailed for three years in 2002 for harassing another woman. He was jailed on a separate occasion for breaching his restraining order against an ex-girlfriend.
In the months before her murder Clare had repeatedly contacted Greater Manchester Police alleging Appleton had caused criminal damage, harassed her, threatened to kill her and tried to rape her.
Police watchdogs later concluded Miss Wood had been badly let down by “individual and systemic” failures by the force.
In February 2009 Clare was found dead in her home in Salford, Greater Manchester. She had been strangled and burned by George Appleton.
Home Secretary Theresa May told the BBC: “Clare’s Law will give some help to those people who think they have a partner who may be acting in a way which suggests that they are somebody who is violent.
“It enables that individual then to go to the police and they’ve got the right to ask for information about that partner. The police obviously have to think about that carefully, what information they give to the individual, and the support needs to be there for them,” Ms May said.
“But it enables somebody to know whether their partner has a record of violence, and to be able to take a decision as to whether to stay with them or not.”