The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, better known as Clare’s Law, was launched on International Women’s Day in 2012 and is named after Clare Wood who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend George Appleton in 2009.
- > International Women's Day: These are the pledges you can make to help women and girls in LeedsThe law gives people over the age of 16 in heterosexual or same-sex relationships the right to ask police if a partner or ex-partner has a record of abusive behaviour.
If police checks show information to indicate the applicant may be at risk, a multi-agency decision will be taken on which information should be shared.
In January, the force launched a campaign to raise awareness of Clare’s Law, and encourage more people to use it.
Since then they have seen a significant increase in requests.
Right to ask requests in February were nearly triple the previous year, with 30 in 2019 compared to 11 in 2018.
There were 27 right to ask requests in January 2019, 12 of which were made after the campaign launch on January 24, compared to 15 the year before.
Detective Superintendent Jon Morgan, Head of West Yorkshire Police’s Safeguarding Central Governance Unit, said: “It is hugely encouraging that more people are taking advantage of their right to ask whether a partner or ex-partner has a history of domestic abuse.
“Where a disclosure is made, it puts that person in a better informed position to make a decision as to whether to continue any relationship.
"It also enables us to discuss any concerns the person may have and signpost them to other support available.”
Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “Supporting victims and witnesses is a key focus of my police and crime plan for West Yorkshire.
"With that in mind, anything we can do to help stop abuse and crucially prevent people from ever becoming victims in the first place is really welcome.
“I am glad to see that a month on from launching this campaign it has made a difference in raising awareness of such a useful tool and that more people are getting in touch.”
- > Crooked West Yorkshire police officer who 'fitted up' Leeds burglary suspects is sackedThrough Clare's law, a third party, such as a family member, neighbour or friend, can also make an application if they are concerned about someone they know.
However, they would not necessarily be the person to receive any information. It may be deemed more appropriate for someone else to be informed such as the person they have enquired on behalf of, or someone who is considered better able to protect that person from harm.
In addition to the ‘right to ask’ there is also the ‘right to know’ which gives the police the mechanism to proactively disclose information to someone who has formed a relationship with a person who has a history of domestic abuse if they consider that person at risk of harm.
Similarly to a request made under the ‘right to ask’, a multi-agency decision will be made whether it is lawful, proportionate and necessary to release any information.