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24 June 2014
First meeting of 'Clare's Law' pilot group

First meeting of 'Clare's Law' pilot group

Proposals to allow people to find out if their partner has a history of domestic violence are set to take a step forward with the first meeting of a working group next week.

The scheme, known as Clare’s Law after Clare Wood, who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in Salford in 2009, is to be piloted in Scotland after England and Wales rolled out a similar initiative earlier this year.

Figures published last week show that the number of domestic abuse incidents reported during 2013-14 was down 1.8 per cent to 58,976.

However, the percentage of domestic abuse incidents that led to one or more crimes or offences being recorded was up 6.3 per cent.

The multi-agency group created to progress the pilot disclosure scheme will meet for the first time on Monday 30 June to establish the remit of the group and the foundations for a Scottish Domestic Abuse Disclosure Scheme pilot.

Head of Police Scotland’s Licensing and Violence Reduction Division, Chief Superintendent Helen Swann, said: “Tackling domestic abuse is a key priority for Police Scotland and by scoping out the options for a pilot with our partners, this will allow us to ensure we use every means at our disposal to keep people safe.

“A Scottish Domestic Abuse Disclosure Scheme will allow relevant information about those who have committed offences related to domestic abuse to be shared with their potential victims. Sharing this information gives people at risk of, or already suffering, domestic abuse the background knowledge to inform decisions regarding their safety.

“Disclosures through the Scheme can be triggered by victims themselves, family members or another member of the public concerned about the victim or public authorities such as the Police or Social Work. The decision to disclose will lie with a multi-agency forum, taking all parties’ rights and needs into account.

“When the decision is taken to share information through the Scheme, the person receiving the information will be fully supported.”

Ch Supt Swann will chair the meeting with officials from the Scottish Government, Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), ASSIST and Scottish Women’s Aid all set to attend.

Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Kenny MacAskill, said: “We take the issue of domestic abuse and all forms of violence against women very seriously indeed and are committed to tackling this abhorrent behaviour, which blights the lives of individuals and communities.

“We look forward to working with Police Scotland and with other partners such as Scottish Women’s Aid to develop this pilot and to ensure that it is right for Scotland and that we do everything in our power to protect and keep women safe.”

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