Clare’s Law allows women, or their friends and family members, to ask the local police to look into the backgrounds of men under suspicion – checking any reports by social service departments, whether the man has a criminal record or has spent time in prison.
If police find information which suggests the woman may be at risk, they can disclose the details in a confidential briefing.
Clare’s Law was named after Clare Wood, who was murdered in Salford by a former boyfriend with a history of domestic violence.
A trail of Clare’s Law was launched in July last year in four countries – Greater Manchester, Gwent, Wiltshire, and Nottinghamshire. However, according to a report in The Independent, people living in the four counties have only made around 250 requests for information. As a result the police had given 89 briefings.
Detective Superintendent Phil Owen of Greater Manchester Police said the numbers of people using the service could be higher: “We would have liked to have seen a greater take up either from those in a relationship or from friends, relatives or neighbours concerned about the possible risk posed to someone they care about. It may be that somebody is in a relationship but isn’t happy about some of the behaviour of their partner. If warning bells are ringing, then these are the types of people we want to hear from.”
Sandra Horley, chief executive of domestic violence charity Refuge, said uptake to date had been “incredibly low”.