This Sunday (25 November) marks White Ribbon Day – the internationally recognised day when people are asked to wear a white ribbon to signal their opposition to any form of domestic abuse.
Warwickshire Police is using White Ribbon Day to raise awareness of The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS), or ‘Clare’s Law’ as it is known. The scheme is named after Clare Wood, who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in 2009. He had a history of domestic abuse, however Clare was unaware of it.
The scheme gives people a formal way to apply for a police check into the past of a person where there is a concern that a relationship may be, or may become abusive.
This is available to anyone in a relationship or people who have concerns for another individual who is in a relationship.
Launched in Warwickshire back in 2015, 190 people in Warwickshire 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 69 disclosures being made.
Head of Vulnerability and Safeguarding, Detective Superintendent Richard Long for Warwickshire Police said: “Domestic abuse is a deplorable and debilitating crime, which can cause lasting damage to individuals, children and families.
“The offender may try to control the victim by removing their confidence and freedom, often by the use of threats, intimidation or violence.
“Clare’s Law is an opportunity for people to take back control and make the right decision on whether they are at any risk by staying in that relationship.
“Domestic violence and abuse is a serious and complex issue, and one which our force and all forces nationally treat as a priority.”
Police and Crime Commissioner for Warwickshire, Philip Seccombe, said: “Tackling domestic abuse remains a priority for the police and partners here in Warwickshire.
“As part the commitment of ‘Protecting people from harm’ in my Police and Crime Plan, I fund a number of initiatives which provide victims with the help and support they need to report domestic abusers, recover and rebuild their lives, while also ensuring the criminal justice system takes a joined-up approach to bringing offenders to justice.
“Ultimately, I want to ensure that agencies can work together to protect people from harm and the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme is an important element of this work.
“I hope the added focus given by White Ribbon Day helps more people understand how the ‘Clare’s Law’ provisions can help to provide important information to people who may have concerns about a relationship, enabling informed choices to be made.”
How do you make an application for disclosure and what happens next?
For further information about the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, or to make a request for information under it, please contact Warwickshire Police by either visiting your nearest police station or calling 101. You can also find more information on the force website at www.warwickshire.police.uk/clareslaw.
The applicant will need to give their name, address and date of birth and some initial checks will be done to establish if there are any immediate concerns.
Following initial contact with the police, a face to face meeting may be set up to complete the application if deemed appropriate.
This meeting will establish further details about the application in order to assess risk and confirm identity.
Working alongside partner agencies, the police will work as quickly as possible to complete checks, a multi-agency panel will check every request for ‘Right to Ask’ and ‘Right to Know’ to make sure it is necessary and proportionate and if so, will decide who to disclose the information to and set up a safety plan tailored to their needs.
Help and guidance on domestic abuse
You can contact Warwickshire’s Domestic Violence Service helpline on 0800 408 1552 between 9am and 9pm Monday to Friday and between 8am and 4pm on Saturday.
The service, which is free from landlines and is confidential, can give information, advice, safety planning and access to safe accommodation.
The Men’s Advice Line provides advice and support for men in violent relationships. They can be contacted on 0808 801 0327 or via their website
You can also call Warwickshire Police on 101 (always call 999 in an emergency).