Hertfordshire police officer: Introduction of Clare’s Law is an ‘important step’

12:49 02 April 2014

Domestic abuse programme manager for the County Community Safety Unit Sarah Taylor, Detective Superintendent Mick Hanlon and Hertfordshire police and crime commissioner David Lloyd address the media about Clare

Domestic abuse programme manager for the County Community Safety Unit Sarah Taylor, Detective Superintendent Mick Hanlon and Hertfordshire police and crime commissioner David Lloyd address the media about Clare's Law

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The introduction of a ‘right to know’ law has been described as an “important step” to help fight domestic abuse.

Why has Clare’s Law been introduced?

● In 2009, Clare Wood, from Salford, was strangled and set on fire by her former partner George Appleton.

● He had a history of previous crimes and even kidnapped a woman a knifepoint, but the 36-year-old was not aware of her ex-boyfriend’s past.

● Since her death, her father Michael Brown has campaigned for the introduction of Clare’s Law and feels it could have saved her life.

● The law has now been introduced to safeguard people from abuse after several successful pilots schemes in Gwent, Greater Manchester, Nottinghamshire and Wiltshire.

Launched yesterday (Tuesday), Clare’s Law will enable worried men or women, or concerned parties on their behalf, to request information from the police about the abusive past of their partner.

Also known as the Domestic Abuse Disclosure Scheme (DVDS), the law has been rolled out across Hertfordshire and the rest of England and Wales to give people the right to know.

Once contacted, police will carry out initial checks to establish if there are any concerns and have 31 days alongside partner agencies to decided whether information should be disclosed.

Immediate action – involving the prison service, probation service and social services – can be taken if deemed necessary.

A person’s previous convictions are treated as confidential and will only be disclosed if it is lawful and needed to prevent further crime from happening.

Detective Superintendent Michael Hanlon, head of the County Community Safety Unit in Hertfordshire, said: “Domestic violence is a cancer that runs through the community, but much of it is hidden.

“This is a really important step giving the best support we can for victims of domestic abuse.”

Sarah Taylor, domestic abuse programme manager for the saftey unit, has urged anyone suffering abuse to come forward.

She said: “You are not the first and unfortunately you will not be the last.

“Come forward and talk to someone and we will do your best to support you.”

If you have been a victim of domestic abuse call police on non-emergency number 101.

Alternatively, visit the Hertfordshire domestic abuse website via www.hertssunflower.org or call 08 088 088 088.

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