A male domestic abuse charity has urged that a disclosure scheme known as “Clare’s Law” not be referred to by that name.
Officially titled the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, Clare’s Law allows people to find out from the Police if their romantic partner has a history of violence. It was named after Clare Wood, who was killed by her former boyfriend back in 2009. The perpetrator, George Appleton, had a record of committing violent crimes against women but Clare did not know that. Her father insists that she would still be alive if she had been aware of Appleton’s pattern of behaviour.
Clare’s Law was launched in 2014 and within a year, Police received more than 3,000 requests for information and made 1,335 disclosures of violent records. Despite this apparent success, male victims of domestic violence have reportedly not taken advantage of the scheme.
ManKind honorary patron and domestic abuse survivor Ian McNicholl submitted a Freedom of Information request to West Mercia Police and found that only nine men had asked for information under Clare’s Law.
McNicholl believes the widely-used name could be the reason that so few men take advantage of the scheme. He asked:
“Had this legislation been available to me, why would I have taken advantage of Clare’s Law? Why would I even think that Clare’s Law applied to me?”
He claimed that the name was “not gender inclusive” and that it was “now absolutely clear that the terminology used is creating barriers”. The scheme represents “life-changing legislation [which] is available to both females and males” but “men must be encouraged to come forward and seek help” McNicholl said.
ManKind chairman Mark Brooks agreed, adding that “not enough men and professionals think this legislation also applies to men”. It was important to promote the scheme more, he said, so that “professionals will make men aware that the legislation applies to them”.