Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme or Clare's Law

The national Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme was introduced recently in Merseyside, also known as Clare's Law, it is named after Clare Wood who was murdered in 2009 by her former partner George Appleton, who had a record of violence against women.

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.

Disclosure requests can be made in person at any police station, proof of ID will be required.

There are two ways for disclosing information;

The Right to Ask

Anyone in an intimate relationship can ask about their partner's violent past, other friends or family members concerned about domestic abuse can also ask for information, but the police will only share information with the person at risk of harm.

After being asked for information the police will make a decision on whether to disclose based on current evidence and what is held on police systems. A risk assessment will be carried out before any information is shared.

The Right to Know

The police can decide if somebody should be told about their partners violent past, to keep them safe. This will happen if the couple come to the attention of the police for any reason. Again a risk assessment will be carried out before any disclosure is made.

Non-Disclosure Decisions

Such decisions will be made were it is felt that there is no further risk of harm or there is no additional information to share.


Merseyside Police started to use Domestic Violence Protection Orders or Go Orders in May 2014. They have two stages;

Stage 1: when the police have reasonable grounds to believe that somebody has used or threatened violence towards somebody else and the victim is at risk of more violence, they can issue a Domestic Violence Protection Notice (DVPN).

Stage 2: the case will be heard in the magistrates' court within two days of the DVPN being issued. If granted by the court, the DVPO can last between 14 days and 28 days, depending on what the court think is fair.