A new campaign as part of the 16 Days of Action - starting this weekend November 25 to December 10
Today (24 November 2017), Worcestershire Forum against Domestic Abuse together with West Mercia Police will launch a campaign called "Worried" to raise awareness of the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (Clare's Law).
This new campaign is being launched as part of the International 16 days of action (White Ribbon campaign). The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS), is also known as Clare's Law after the tragic murder of Clare Wood who was murdered in February 2009 by a man she had met on an internet dating site who had a history of violence. Clare was unaware of his violent background.
Clare's Law aims to prevent domestic abuse by empowering and enabling both men and women with the right to ask the police about the background of their new partner. It also allows concerned members of the public, such as relatives and friends, to make enquiries about someone’s partner if they are concerned that person has been abusive in the past.
The scheme was launched in West Mercia policing areas in March 2014 and over the last two years 170 people in Worcestershire have used their 'Right to Ask' the police whether a new or existing partner (either their own or a friend or relative's) may have a violent past, with 128 disclosure being made.
The scheme also creates a formal mechanism for police to tell both men and women, who are potentially at risk of abuse from their partner, about that partner’s past with the knowledge that the police hold. This is known as 'Right to Ask'.
The scheme aims to enable potential victims to make an informed choice on whether to continue the relationship, and provides further help and support to assist the potential victim when making that choice.
Right to Ask is the powerful message behind the scheme. West Mercia Police is empowering potential victims of domestic abuse and/or their concerned friends and family, with the right to ask about the new partner. In the past, it could have been difficult for someone entering a new relationship to find out or be aware if their new partner had prior convictions for violence or domestic abuse.
Councillor John Smith Worcestershire County Council's cabinet member with responsibility for Health and Wellbeing said: "Tackling abuse and preventing people from becoming victims is a priority for the County Council and this scheme lies at the heart of our approach."
He added: "It empowers people to make informed decisions and we continue to support victims through the specialist services that we commission across the county".
Martin Lakeman, Domestic Abuse Coordinator for Worcestershire said "It is crucial we all play a part in breaking the cycle of domestic abuse. Perpetrators, by their nature can be cunning, charming and deceitful. Abuse is their fault and theirs alone. If you are at all concerned about the behaviour of someone you are in a relationship with, please submit a disclosure request. Similarly if you’re concerned for a son, daughter, friend, colleague or neighbour, speak out – you could save their life.”
He added "Everyone has a responsibility to promote this scheme, it's vital those professionals such as doctors and social workers signpost people to this fantastic scheme. Raising awareness of domestic abuse is everyone's business."
To make an application and to find out more;
Visit a police station
Phone 101, non-emergency number
Speak to an officer on the street
If you're worried about someone else or suffering abuse contact the Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0800 980 3331. If you want more information about the scheme visit www.westmerciapolice.co.uk or www.worcestershiredomesticandsexualabuse.co.uk please pledge your support for the campaign and go to www.whiteribboncampaign.co.uk/worcestershire