The Domestic Abuse Disclosure Scheme allows those who are concerned about the possible violent or abusive history of their partner or the partner of someone that they know, to contact the police and formally request information
A disclosure request under this scheme can be made by:
- Someone who has concerns that their partner may harm them
- A third party, such as a parent, neighbour or friend who has concerns about someone’s safety.
Information will only be given to the person potentially at risk, unless that person is thought to be vulnerable and may not understand any information provided. In instances consideration will be given to providing any information to the person potentially at risk in the presence of someone who is in a position to use it to protect.
A third party person reporting concerns will usually not receive any information regarding the history of the person they have expressed concerns about.
In practice, this information may be disclosed via a request from a member of the public – known as the ‘right to ask’ - or by an agency where a proactive decision is made to consider disclosing the information in order to protect a potential victim at risk. This is known as the ‘right to know’.
The whole process, including the disclosure of the information if necessary, is 35 days
Making a disclosure request under Clare’s Law
Here is what you are required to do if you want to apply:
Step one - Making a request
To apply for the type of information covered by Clare’s Law, members of the public can call the police on 101, visit their nearest police station or can approach a police officer.
We will then run some initial checks and conduct an initial risk assessment. If we believe that someone is at risk and needs protection, we will take immediate action.
Step two – Face to face meeting to complete the application
Depending on the outcome of step one, you may be required to then meet with an officer so they can assess any risk and for you to provide proof of your identity. You will be informed of acceptable forms of ID.
Here, more information will be gathered from you about the nature of the relationship between yourself and the person you are concerned about and their partner.
Checks will be made with other agencies including the Probation Service and local Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVAS), depending on the information you have given.
Step three - Multi-agency meeting
The police meet with the other agencies to discuss the information you have given, along with any other information that has been found from the checks that have been undertaken.
A decision is then made on whether any disclosure is lawful, necessary and proportionate to the person at potential risk.
If the decision is taken to disclose information, the person who will receive it is decided (this is the potential victim or whoever else is best suited to protect that person) and a safety plan tailored to the potential victim’s needs is set up.
Step four – Potential disclosure
If the previous checks have found that the person you are enquiring about has a record for abusive offences or there is further information that indicates a pressing need to make a disclosure to prevent further crime, the police will disclose this to the potential victim at risk or someone who is able to protect them.
If the checks do not show that there is a pressing need to make a disclosure to prevent further crime, you will be told of that. This may happen if the person you have enquired about does not hold a record of abusive offences or there is no information available that indicates that they pose a risk to the potential victim.
Keep it confidential
If you receive a disclosure, it should be treated as confidential. It is given to you so that you can take steps to protect the person potentially at risk. You must not share this information with anyone else unless you have spoken to the police, or the person who has given you the information, and they have agreed that it can be shared.
Police checks are not a guarantee of safety. Where necessary, you will be given advice on how to protect yourself or the person at risk and how to recognise signs of domestic abuse.
Visit the Take The Step website for help services that are available for those suffering domestic abuse