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Faster information for victims of domestic abuse proposed by Home Office

The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS), often referred to as 'Clare's Law', was implemented across all police forces in England and Wales in March 2014. Under the scheme members of the public can ask the police for information on their partner's criminal history and therefore know if their partner poses a risk to them.

Under new guidance, on which the Home Office is now consulting, the police will be required to disclose information on perpetrators more quickly. Police will have 28 days to disclose the information; hitherto the guideline has been 35 days.

The updated guidance also sets out best practice for managing applications that are received online, including the provision of links to specialist domestic abuse services, and the introduction of measures such as quick escapes on online portals to help protect applicants.

The DVDS is comprised of two elements: the "Right to Ask" and the "Right to Know." Under the 'Right to Ask' aspect of the scheme an individual or relevant third party, for example a family member, can ask the police to check whether a current or ex-partner has a violent or abusive past.

The "Right to Know" element enables the police to make a disclosure on their own initiative if they receive information about the violent or abusive behaviour of a person that may impact on the safety of that person's current or ex-partner.

The Home Office will consult on key changes being introduced into the guidance to ensure that the scheme is being implemented as efficiently and effectively as possible across all forces in order to provide better support and faster protection for victims, ahead of placing the guidance in statute as set out in the Domestic Abuse Act 2021. This will help ensure a uniform and consistent implementation of the scheme by the police.

For the consultation document, click here.