News In Focus
"Clare's law" pilot areas confirmed
The Police Scotland disclosure scheme for domestic abuse, also known as Clare’s law, will be piloted in Aberdeen City and Ayrshire, it was confirmed today.
The six-month trial, beginning late November, will allow people to discover whether their domestic partner has a record for domestic abuse. It will be monitored by a multi-agency project board looking at domestic abuse, which is chaired by Police Scotland with members also from the Scottish Government, Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service, ASSIST advocacy services and Scottish Women’s Aid.
Welcoming the announcement, Aberdeen City Council Social Care and Wellbeing convener, Councillor Len Ironside, said: "Giving people who have suspicions the right to discover whether their partner has a record of domestic abuse can potentially offer extra protection to those who may be at risk.
"We at the City Council will work closely with the other partner organisations on this pilot scheme to make it work. I am sure it will show positive results and will be rolled out across the rest of the country."
The news was also welcomed by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, as he visited the Caledonian System, a domestic abuse programme in Aberdeen which works with the perpetrators and victims of domestic abuse. He commented: “It is right that people in relationships should have the opportunity to seek the facts about their partner’s background if, for example, they have concerns that their partner has a history of violence and I am particularly interested in the results of the pilot to assess how effective it can be.
“The scheme has already proved successful in England & Wales and it is important that the practical implementation is tested to ensure that it is suitable for Scotland’s unique justice system."
Currently engaging with over 100 men, the Caledonian System works with both the perpetrators of domestic abuse and the victims, offering voluntary support to the women and children who have been harmed, while their partners or ex-partners undertake an intensive two-year programme of work. The length and structure of the group programme holds them accountable for their actions and for making changes in their thinking and behaviour, and for the women being supported there is an opportunity to check out that their partners' behaviour has improved.