Sussex Police and partners now have an extra means of helping their work in protecting victims and survivors of domestic violence and abuse.
The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, also known as Clare’s Law, introduces new and consistent processes by giving people the Right to Ask about an individual they are in a relationship with, or who is in a relationship with someone they know, if they have a concern that the partner may be violent or abusive.
The new national scheme, which gets underway this week, also allows the police and partners to consider disclosing that someone’s new or potential partner has a history of violent or abusive behaviour, under what is known as the Right to Know.
The scheme, already successfully piloted in other parts of the country, is named after Clare Wood, who was murdered by her former partner in Greater Manchester in 2009. That tragedy brought into national focus the issue of disclosing information about an individual’s history of domestic violence to a new partner.
Trish Harrison, manager for domestic and sexual violence at West Sussex County Council, said: “The dynamics of domestic abuse are complex. Although every situation is unique, there are common factors that run through all abusive relationships.
“Identifying and acknowledging these factors is important in preventing and stopping abuse. This new scheme gives us an extra opportunity to help people suffering domestic abuse.
“By providing the right information, to the right people, at the right time in the right way; we have the potential to help people change their lives for the better and to save lives.”
Each request will be researched and reviewed by police officers who specialise in investigating domestic abuse and helping to support victims.
As well as agreeing what to disclose, to whom, and how and when to do so, the meeting will also identify the best way to support anyone who has made a request, or who is being informed about concerns about someone’s new or potential partner.
Detective inspector Stu Hale said: “We currently receive more than 65 reports of incidents involving domestic abuse every day. The numbers have been increasing over the past year, we think due in part to the efforts of police and other agencies to increase confidence amongst people in reporting abuse.”
Sussex Police and crime commissioner Katy Bourne, said: “The decision to roll Clare’s Law out nationally is an extremely positive one and could potentially end up saving lives.
“Ending violence against women and girls is a personal priority for me.
“I want domestic abuse to be as socially unacceptable as any other crime and I know that the wider public cares about this too. This is why I will continue to support domestic abuse campaigns with partner agencies so that together we can raise awareness and encourage more reporting by those affected.
“Any new measures like this which will help victims of what is often a hidden crime have to be welcomed.”
Applicants can contact police at any time via 101, 01273 470101 or www.sussex.police.uk.
Police will arrange to meet them to discuss to establish the full circumstances and then refer the request.