Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme
(Clare's Law) and Domestic Violence Protection
Orders (DVPOs) (Go Orders)
Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (Clare's
The national Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme was introduced
recently in Merseyside
The Scheme provides a framework for the police to disclose
information about an individual's history of domestic violence to a
new partner. This follows a pilot in 4 police force areas
which operated from September 2012 and provided more than 100
people with information about their partner's violent past.
The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, also known as Clare's
Law, is named after Clare Wood who was murdered in 2009 by her
former partner George Appleton, who had a record of violence
The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme is available to both
females and males concerned that their partner might have a violent
past which might put them at risk. The Scheme allows the
police to disclose information about their partner's previous
history of domestic violence or violent acts.
The scheme is only applicable to people who are in an intimate
Disclosure requests can be made in the following ways:
- In person at any police station
- By telephone to 101.
There are two processes for disclosing information:
- Right to Ask
- Right to Know.
Right to Ask
Any individual who is in a relationship has the right to ask
about any history of violence in their partner's past. The
potentially violent partner will not be told that a disclosure
request has been made.
A third party (e.g. Independent domestic violence advocate,
social worker, grown up children, grandparents, parents, siblings,
friends, neighbours) who has concerns on someone's behalf can also
exercise the right to ask for information. However, a
disclosure of information will only be made to the person best
placed to safeguard the individual at risk of harm, (which in most
cases will be the person at risk).
There is no upper or lower age limit on those who can apply for
disclosure or be provided with information about a partner.
The disclosure will always be provided to the person who is best
placed to reduce risk; for example, a 15 year old can ask for a
disclosure if they have concerns regarding a 17 year old
boyfriend/girlfriend. A decision may result in the
parents/guardians and the 15 year old being provided with relevant
information to ensure they are effectively safeguarded.
After the police receive a request for a disclosure, a decision
will be made, whether to disclose or not based on the
information and intelligence on the police's system. A risk
assessment will also be carried out prior to any information being
Checks can be made both nationally and internationally if there
is information that the potential perpetrator lived outside of the
police force area at any time.
The Right to Know
Under the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, the police can
make a professional judgement to proactively share information
about an individual's violent past with their current partner, if
deemed necessary to safeguard them.
This 'Right to Know' will typically be triggered by the police
as a result of a police investigation or because of information or
intelligence received from partners, e.g. through the Multi
Agency Risk Assessment Conference. Again, a risk assessment
will be carried out prior to any sharing of information with the
partner of the identified violent person.
Disclosure and Non Disclosure Decisions
Every request will be thoroughly checked by a panel made
up of police, probation services and other agencies to ensure
information is only passed on where it is lawful, proportionate and
necessary. Trained police officers and advisers will then be on
hand to support victims through the difficult and sometimes
dangerous transitional period. The police will also seek the
support of specialist domestic violence services for the person
receiving the disclosure.
The police will carry out a risk assessment prior to the sharing
of information and other safeguarding processes will be put in
place as appropriate, such as a Child Concern Notifications or
Safeguarding Adults alerts.
The police will make the disclosure either face to face, or over
the telephone using the safe contact method identified by the
requestor when they made the request.
A non disclosure decision will be made when it has been
identified that a disclosure will not prevent any further risk or
harm, or if there is no information to share. However, a non
disclosure decision does not preclude anyone from contacting the
police if there are further concerns, nor does it preclude anyone
from making future requests for disclosure. There is no limit
to the number of disclosure requests that can be made about an
The individual receiving the disclosure will be asked to
undertake not to disclose this information to anyone else, unless
such a disclosure is necessary to safeguard them, such as an IDVA
providing them with support or another person living in their
Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPO) (Go
From May 2014, Domestic Violence Protection Orders
(DVPOs)were introduced to Merseyside. This new power will
enable police and magistrates' courts to provide protection to
victims in the immediate aftermath of a domestic violence
The Domestic Violence Protection Orders approach has two
1. The first stage - where the police have
reasonable grounds for believing that a perpetrator has used or
threatened violence towards the victim and the victim is at risk of
future violent behaviour, they can issue a Domestic Violence
Protection Notice on the spot, provided they have the authorisation
of an officer at Superintendent rank.
2. The second
stage - Magistrate's Court must then hear the case for the
Protection Order itself within 48 hours of the Notice being
made. If granted, the Order may last between a minimum of 14
days and a maximum of 28 days. This is intended to strike a
balance between immediate protection for the victim and judicial