Clare's Law Pilot Schemes To Be Announced By Theresa May

PA/The Huffington Post UK  |  By   |  Posted: 5/03/2012 07:23 Updated: 5/03/2012 10:05

Clares Law Theresa May
Home Secretary Theresa May is set to reveal that four areas in England and Wales will trial the changes.

The government is expected to announce "Clare's Law" pilot schemes that will give women the right to ask police about a partner's history on Monday.

Home Secretary Theresa May is set to reveal that four areas in England and Wales will trial the changes.

It follows a campaign for a change in the law to help protect women from domestic abuse by the Michael Brown, the father of a woman murdered by her partner.

Brown's daughter, Clare Wood, was strangled and set on fire by her ex-boyfriend, George Appleton, at her home in Salford in February 2009.


Clare Wood

Appleton, dubbed the "Facebook Fugitive" then went on the run before hanging himself.

On Monday morning Brown said that if his daughter had known about her partner's violent past she would have "dropped him like a hot brick and scampered out of there." He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that women deserved an opportunity to make an "educated decision."

However domestic violence charity Refuge warned the plans would be costly and may not help: "It is highly unlikely that she [Wood] was killed because the police didn't inform her about her ex-partner's violent history. It is more likely that she was killed because the police did not respond to her emergency 999 call for help," chief executive Sandra Horley told Today.

"We are at a loss to understand why the government is spending precious time and money - especially at a time of austerity - on this new scheme.

"As the law stands, the public already have the right to ask and the police have the powers to disclose information about a man's previous history."


George Appleton


Wood, 36, a mother-of-one, had met Appleton on Facebook, unaware of his horrific history of violence against women, including repeated harassment, threats and the kidnapping at knifepoint of one of his ex-girlfriends.

At the inquest into Wood's death last year, Coroner Jennifer Leeming said women in abusive relationships should have the right to know about the violent past of the men they were with.

"Sarah's Law" named after Sarah Payne who was murdered by paedophile Roy Whiting in 2000, now gives parents the right to know of any child sex convictions of men with access to their children.


Michael Brown, the father of Clare Wood


A Home Office spokesman said: "Domestic violence is a particularly dreadful form of abuse and we are constantly looking at ways to strengthen protection for victims.

"That is why we consulted on introducing a domestic violence disclosure scheme, often known as 'Clare's law'. We will be making a formal announcement shortly."

May last year agreed to open a 'Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme' to public consultation and is now considering the response.

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