DORSET residents can today find out whether their partner has a history of being abusive in an initiative to tackle domestic violence.
Dorset Police is taking part in national scheme Clare’s Law.
The Echo revealed that officers are dealing with a case of domestic violence every hour of the day.
Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that Dorset Police receive on average 700 reports of domestic abuse per month across the county and have dealt with more than 36,000 incidents of domestic violence in the last five years.
Clare’s Law, named after Clare Wood who was murdered by her boyfriend in 2009, is a Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme and will allow people to see if their new partner has a history of domestic violence.
Members of the public can make an application for a disclosure, known as the ‘right to ask’.
The scheme is for anyone in an intimate relationship regardless of gender.
Anybody can make an enquiry, but information will only be given to someone at risk or a person in a position to safeguard the victim.
Partner agencies can also request disclosure is made of an offender’s past history where it is believed someone is at risk of harm.
Director of Public Protection, Detective Superintendent Chris Naughton said: “The scheme is based on risk management. If a potentially violent individual is identified as having convictions for violent offences, or information is held about their behaviour which reasonably leads the police and other agencies to believe they pose a risk of harm to their partner, a disclosure will be made. “The intention is to give potential victims information about the history of their partner, so they can make an informed decision about the relationship.”
Chairman of the Dorset Community Safety Partnership Councillor Ray Nottage said: “The Dorset Community Safety Partnership welcomes the roll out of Clare’s Law by Dorset Police.
“Tackling domestic abuse and protecting victims continues to be a priority for us. The introduction of Clare's Law provides us with an opportunity to further protect victims, particularly those defined as being at the highest risk of harm.”
Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill said: “I welcome the adoption of Clare’s Law which will give people the opportunity to make an educated decision about the future of their relationship.
“It will also strengthen the framework around the release of information about the violent past of partners. This is a valuable tool in our work to pre-empt domestic violence.”
He added: “Clare’s Law will allow people to seek the information they need to escape an abusive situation before it ends in tragedy.”