Over 1,000 ‘Claire’s law’ requests to domestic abuse scheme

More than 1,000 requests have been made to the new scheme.
More than 1,000 requests have been made to the new scheme.
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More than 1,000 requests have been made in the first year of a disclosure scheme which allows women to check if their partner has a history of violence.

Since then there have been 1,044 requests for information and 443 disclosures – 371 people have been told their partner has an abusive past.

Named after Clare Wood, who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in Salford, Greater Manchester, in 2009, the initiative went nationwide following a successful trial. A similar scheme was already in existence in England and Wales.

Police Scotland, which spends around 20 per cent of its time dealing with domestic abuse incidents, said the scheme was key to breaking the “circle of violence”.

Chief Constable Phil Gormley said: “Domestic abuse is a despicable crime and a blight on society.

“The Disclosure Scheme for Domestic Abuse Scotland is part of a long-term approach to supporting potential victims. In some instances such a disclosure can break the cycle of violence and abuse, protecting many people.”

The Scottish Government plans to introduce legislation which will create a new offence of domestic abuse and criminalise long-term psychological abusers.

Justice secretary Michael Matheson said: “Domestic abuse is an abhorrent and inexcusable crime.

“It robs victims of their right to have a normal, happy life and in the worst cases it can result in their life being taken away completely.

“That is why Police Scotland’s Disclosure Scheme for Domestic Abuse has had the full support of Scottish Government from pilot to national roll out and that included funding an awareness raising campaign as the scheme was rolled out last year.”

He added: “The scheme sends a strong and unequivocal message that domestic abuse is unacceptable and that we are committed to action that can help to reduce the risk of further harm.”

Dr Marsha Scott, chief executive of Scottish Women’s Aid, added: “Scottish Women’s Aid welcome any tool or service that increases the safety of women and children experiencing domestic abuse.

“It is good to see this evidence that the disclosure scheme is being used by police and by women, and we look forward to seeing the evaluation of the longer-term impacts of disclosure on women’s lives, space for action, and safety.”