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More than 900 abusers disclosed under "Clare's law", police reveal

2 October 2017

More than 1,000 people sought information about their partners in the second year of the disclosure scheme for domestic abuse in Scotland, also known as "Clare's law", Police Scotland have revealed.

The figure brings the total number of requests since the scheme rolled out nationally on 1 October 2015 to 2,144. From these, 927 people have been told their partner has an abusive past.

Under the scheme, people can request disclosure from the police if they suspect their current partner may have an abusive past. Requests can also be made, on their behalf, by a concerned family, member, friend or neighbour.

The national force also revealed that nearly 59,000 incidents of domestic abuse were reported in 2016-17, an average of one incident every nine minutes, making it the greatest single demand on the police service in Scotland.

Detective Superintendent Gordon McCreadie, national lead for domestic abuse, said: “Police Scotland remains committed to working with partners to reduce and ultimately eradicate the harm caused by domestic abuse. It is a deplorable and debilitating crime which can cause lasting damage to individuals, children and families. It is commonly about control with a perpetrator seeking to slowly strip away the liberty, confidence and power of the victim, often through the use of threats, intimidation and violence.

“DSDAS [the scheme] is one way in which we can get ahead of the curve, helping to prevent people from becoming victims before abuse occurs. It empowers individuals, or others who care for their wellbeing, to take control of their future, enabling access to important information which will help them make an informed decision about whether it is right for them, and perhaps their children, to remain in a relationship with someone who may have a history of domestic abuse.

“DSDAS also sends a message to perpetrators, and those whose behaviour may be escalating, that if they become a domestic abuser their behaviour today will likely impact on every other day of their life and many of their future relationships. DSDAS is one of many tools we use to protect the public and bring perpetrators to justice. If you are offending or are close to offending, stop and seek help now."

Dr Marsha Scott, chief executive of Scottish Women’s Aid commented: “Scottish Women's Aid is glad to mark the second anniversary of Scotland's domestic abuse disclosure scheme. We are a big fan of the idea that information is power, and the more information women have about the domestic abuse histories of their partners and ex-partners, the better. We welcome any tool that helps police and the women themselves to be safe.”


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