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Domestic Abuse

Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme

Are you worried that your partner may have been abusive or violent in the past? The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS) could offer more information about them if you have genuine concerns.

What is it?

The DVDS, often referred to as Clare’s Law, gives men and women the power to ask whether their partner has a history of abuse and enables police to inform a potential victim of a partner’s history in an effort to prevent them from coming to harm.

How can it help?

If police checks show that your partner has a record of violent behaviour, or there is other information to indicate that you may be at risk from your partner, the police will consider sharing this information with you.

The scheme aims to help you to make a more informed decision on whether to continue a relationship, and provides further help and support to assist you when making that choice.

Who can ask for a disclosure?

A disclosure under the scheme is the sharing of specific information about your partner with either you or a third person for the purposes of protecting you or another person from domestic violence.

  • You can make an application about your partner if you have a concern that they may harm you.
  • Any concerned third party, such as a parent, neighbour or friend can also make an application if they are concerned.

However, a third party making an application would not necessarily receive the information about your partner. It may be more appropriate for someone else to receive the information, such as you or a person who is in a position to protect you from the abuse.

How do I request a disclosure?

You can either:

  • Visit a police station
  • Call 101
  • Speak to a police officer on the street

Always dial 999 if there is an immediate risk of harm to someone or it is an emergency.

What can I do with the information?

The person receiving the disclosure can use the information to keep themselves and others safe, ask what advice and support is available, and find out who they or others at risk should contact.

You may receive a disclosure even if you have not asked for one because the police receive information about your partner which they consider puts you at risk of harm from domestic violence. They may consider disclosing the information to you or another person who they consider best placed to protect you.

Police checks or any disclosures made are not a guarantee of safety but will ensure you are aware of local and national support available to you.

If you receive a disclosure it should be treated as confidential and it is only being given to you so that you can take steps to protect yourself or the potential victim. You must not share this information with anyone else unless you have spoken to the police, or person who gave you the information, and they have agreed that it will be shared. The police may take action against you if the information is disclosed without their consent, which could include civil or criminal proceedings.

Further support

Contact details for national support agencies and local organisations which can help are available here:

Click the appropriate link below for more details about the scheme:

Information on Domestic Violence Protection Orders (available to police to offer immediate protection to sufferers):

More information on Domestic Abuse