A disclosure scheme trialled in Ayrshire and Aberdeen is now being rolled out across the entire country. The scheme allows men and women to enquire with police regarding their partner’s violent past, in hopes of curtailing instances of domestic abuse.
The scheme—which has been dubbed Clare’s Law—was announced by First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon. It’s intended to encourage people to request information regarding previous criminal convictions if they have any reason to believe that they may be entering into an abusive relationship.
During the trial period, 59 applications for information were submitted. From these, a total of 22 disclosures were made. Given the success of the scheme during its six-month trial period, coupled with the results of a similar scheme already in place in England, the plan is being instituted nationwide.
The scheme is named in honour of Clare Wood. In 2009, when she was 36 years old, Ms. Wood went to meet a man she had met on Facebook. He murdered her in the Greater Manchester area.
With the rollout of the new law, Ms. Sturgeon had this to say:
“I announced earlier this year new funding of £20 million over the next three years to step up our work to tackle violence against women. We are working in partnership to combat domestic abuse and we see Police Scotland’s Disclosure Scheme for Domestic Abuse as a vital step forwards.
“The victims of this unacceptable behaviour are predominantly female but males are also targeted; we must make sure that everyone is offered protection and information which reduces the risk of harm. I firmly believe that people who have concerns that their partner may have a history of domestic abuse should be able to find out.”
To underscore the importance of the law, she added, “There is no excuse or place for domestic abuse in Scotland and we need to do all we can to ensure we protect people from what is an abhorrent crime.”