Message from Cheshire Constabulary

Dear Crofters,

Please see below from Cheshire Police:

Clare’s Law is formally known as the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS) in England

DVDS is a police-run scheme that lets you, or any member of the public formally request or receive usually confidential information about a romantic partner’s criminal history.

This might be a current partner who you are worried might have been abusive in the past. It can also be an ex-partner you are no longer involved with but believe may be a threat to your safety.

You can make a DVDS application if you believe you are personally at risk of abuse, or are concerned on behalf of a close friend or relative.

Under Clare’s Law you have two rights: to ask, and to know

1- The ‘right to ask’ means that you can make a DVDS application to ask about a current or ex-partner that you think might have a record of abusive behaviour or violence. Any information that the police share with you about a partner is called ‘disclosure’.
You can also ask on behalf of a close friend or relative, who you think might be at risk from their current or former partner. However, you may not necessarily receive any disclosure depending on who you are. The police may decide it is more appropriate to share with your loved one directly, or with someone who is more able to protect their safety.

2- The ‘right to know’ means that if police checks show that your current or ex-partner has a history of abusive behaviour, they may proactively share that information with you because they believe you are at future risk.

Clare’s Law disclosures have to be considered ‘lawful’, ‘proportionate’ and ‘necessary’

This means that police must first decide whether it is appropriate to disclose your partner’s confidential records as part of your DVDS application. If there is enough to suggest that you may be at risk, then the police will make a collective decision on what information to disclose to you.

If you are applying on your own behalf, then the police will disclose any information directly to you – usually in person. If you’re applying on behalf of someone else, any disclosure is likely to depend on your relationship to that person and your ability to keep them safe.

Should your partner not be known to the police, or if police checks suggest that there isn’t a threat to your safety then the police will tell you so. In this case, they are not required to share any disclosure with you or anyone else.

Clare’s Law disclosures take into account different definitions of domestic abuse

Abuse isn’t only limited to physical abuse. It can also include harassment, verbal abuse, stalking, psychological threats or manipulation , sexual assault and violent behaviour. Anyone can experience domestic abuse regardless of age, race, ethnic or religious backgrounds, sexuality, class or disability.

Domestic Abuse can be defined as an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour – including sexual and physical violence. With continued changes to the law Domestic Abuse can include:
-psychological and or emotional abuse
-physical and sexual abuse
-financial or economic abuse
-harassment and stalking
-and also online or digital abuse.

Police will normally take these different definitions of abuse into account when considering what information to disclose as part of a DVDS application.

Clare’s Law was created to help prevent future domestic abuse 

A former legal loophole made it possible for domestic abusers or people with a prior record of violent or abusive behaviour to conceal their personal records. This meant that their partners were more likely to remain unaware of past offences, and so at greater risk of future harm. Clare Wood, who the law is named after, was murdered by her ex-boyfriend due to this lack of knowledge.

After a lengthy campaign, Clare’s father Michael Brown was finally able to get this law changed. Now any member of the public has the right to ask the police about the criminal history of a partner they believe might be putting their own safety, or the safety of someone they know, at risk.

Clare’s Law changed from a policy to a law

Domestic Abuse Bill received Royal Assent on 29th April 2021.The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 has been described as the most comprehensive package ever and focuses on bringing the issue of Domestic Abuse to the forefront of society. The Act includes the first statutory government definition of “Domestic Abuse” which goes beyond physical violence and includes psychological and economic abuse. The Act allows Clare’s Law a statutory footing, meaning that victims have a legal right to check out the offending history of their partner, and this is no longer at the police discretion.

Clare’s Law now operates in several countries across the world

It was first rolled out in England and Wales in 2014. Since then, versions of Clare’s Law have been introduced in Scotland (2016) and Northern Ireland (2018). Canada and Australia have also trialled similar schemes to prevent domestic abuse, which follow the original ‘right to ask’ and ‘right to know’ two-part framework.

March 2021 Ottawa Ontario introduced Clare’s Law. From April 2021 Royal Canadian Mounted Police will now enforce Clare’s Law in Saskatchewan and Alberta. Newfoundland & Labrador have introduced a version of Clare’s Law call Interpersonal Violence Disclosure Protocol Act in November 2019.

New South Wales have introduced Clare’s Law. Has been trialled in South Australia and along with Queensland and Victoria are debating the introduction of the Disclosure Scheme. I think another page with general information would be helpful.

To find out more information regarding this topic then visit Clare’s Law ( and Request information under Clare’s Law: Make a Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS) application | Cheshire Constabulary