EXCLUSIVE: 1000 Scots Use Clare's Law In First Year

5 September 2016, 06:34

clare's law

Capital can reveal almost a thousand Scots have applied to find out if their partners have an abusive past, since a scheme started less than a year ago.

Clare's Law lets Police Scotland reveal information about someone's history of violence.

Exclusive figures we've obtained through Freedom of Information legislation show more than 40% of the people who applied have been successful.

Clare's Law, named after Clare Wood who was murdered in 2009 by a former boyfriend, allows the police to disclose information about an individual's previous history of domestic violence or violent acts, if requested by their partner.

The 36 year old was strangled and set on fire by her ex-boyfriend, George Appleton at her home in Salford. Miss Wood did not know, Mr Appleton had a history of violence towards women. The killer took his own life six days after his former girlfriend's death.

The law was rolled out across Scotland last October, following a pilot in Ayrshire and Aberdeen.

A total of 926 applications were submitted under the Disclosure Scheme for Domestic Abuse.

391 applications resulted in an individual receiving information about a potentially dangerous partner.

Miss Wood's father has told us he is "appalled" almost a thousand people thought they could have been in trouble.

Michael Brown has been talking to Capital's Connor Gillies

Glasgow Women's Aid claim lives have "undoubtedly" been saved as a result of the disclosures.

We have been talking to Susan Jack from the charity

Chief Superintendent Barry McEwan said: "Police Scotland is committed to reducing the harm caused by domestic abuse. In October 2015, we launched the Disclosure Scheme for Domestic Abuse Scotland (DSDAS).

"The DSDAS is our multi-agency prevention scheme designed to reduce the risk of domestic abuse by sharing information about a person's abusive past. So far, as we near the end of its first full year in operation, more than 900 requests have been made, with almost 400 of them resulting in a disclosure being made.

"If you believe yourself to be a risk from a new partner, or if you know someone who may be at risk, I encourage you to apply to the scheme.

"If you are a victim of domestic abuse, please contact Police Scotland. We can and will help you.

"As we reach its first anniversary, the up-to-date DSDAS annual figures will be issued."

Justice Secretary, Michael Matheson, told Heart: "I am very encouraged by the impact Clare's Law has had over the past year.

"The work that Police Scotland has been doing has been very encouraging but it is only one part of the work we are determined to take forward as a Government to make sure we end the scourge of domestic violence in our communities in Scotland.

"These figures demonstrate there is a real appetite to make use of the provision that we have made available through Police Scotland to allow people to get information on their partner.

"Given almost a thousand people have used Clare's Law in less than a year, I think that demonstrates the potential impact it has got and I have no doubt Police Scotland will continue to build on that in the years to come".

Scottish Labour's Justice Spokesperson Claire Baker MSP said: "Whilst these figures show the success of Clare's Law they also show the scale of the problem.

"That almost a thousand women felt the need to check their partner's history indicates that much more has to be done to tackle domestic abuse in Scotland.

"That is why Scottish Labour is calling for the introduction of domestic abuse courts within Scotland's courts to ensure these serious crimes are dealt with as a priority."

Further information and links to the DSDAS reporting form are available at the Police Scotland website http://www.scotland.police.uk/keep-safe/domestic-abuse/disclosure-scheme-for-domestic-abuse-scotland