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Scheme to help lift lid on partner abuse past

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: March 04, 2014

Mike Cunningham, new chief constable of police

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A NEW scheme that will give people the right to ask about a partner’s previous history of domestic abuse or violent has been rolled out across Burton and South Derbyshire.

The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, also known as ‘Clare’s Law’, has been launched in a bid to prevent and protecting potential victims.

The scheme is named after Clare Wood, who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend George Appleton at her Salford home in February 2009.

She was unaware of his domestic abuse history with other women.

It is hoped that the scheme will help people make a more informed decision on whether to continue a relationship, and provide further help and support to assist people making that choice.

Staffordshire Police Chief Constable Mike Cunningham (pictured) said: “Domestic abuse shatters lives. It can not only affect the victim but any children living with them and the wider family.

“Staffordshire Police takes every reported incident of domestic abuse extremely seriously.

“We are determined to ensure that victims, and those affected by abuse, are supported and safeguarded and that offenders face the consequences of their actions.

“This initiative can help people who are concerned about this type of crime to feel reassured that they don’t have to suffer and help is available.”

A panel, made up of police, probation services and other agencies, will thoroughly check requests to ensure information is only passed on where it is lawful, proportionate and necessary.

People who have concerns about being harmed by their partner can make an application by ringing 101.

The scheme also allows a third party, such as a parent, neighbour or friend, to apply if they have concerns about someone’s welfare.

A third party would not directly be told but the person at risk would be.

Alan Charles, police and crime commissioner for Derbyshire, said: “When it comes to domestic iolence, ignorance is definitely not bliss, it’s downright dangerous.

“People now have a right to ask if someone close to them could be a risk to their safety, whether or not they choose to take up that right is their decision.

“This law will help people to make an informed decision, based on known facts, about their relationship which will in turn save people from harm.”

The Mail previously reported on how Donna Wilson was murdered by Shaun Clarke in 2007, after he had pretended to be a soldier to cover up for the fact that he had been in prison for murdering a previous partner.

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