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Clare's Law explained..

Clare Wood:

Ending the relationship did not protect Clare. Neither did making several complaints to the police. The panic alarm installed in her home did not protect her. The perpetrator having a known history of violence against women did not protect her. Clare Wood, died after being strangled and set on fire by her ex-boyfriend, George Appleton, in2009.

Miss Wood’s father, Michael Brown, believes individual and systemic mistakes were made and that his daughter, aged 36 when she died, ‘did not get the protection she needed, when she needed it.’

Domestic abuse is historic yet contemporary. Its prevalence is devastating and indiscriminate.

What is Clare’s Law?

Clare’s law, also known as the domestic violence disclosure scheme (DVDS), was introduced in 2014 and is an ‘information-sharing mechanism’. Under Clare’s law, there is a ‘right to ask’ and a ‘right to know’.

A ‘right to ask’ enables potential targets, and relevant third parties (for example, family members), to ask police if they are at risk of domestic abuse, by checking to see if a current or ex-partner has a history of violent behaviour.

A ‘right to know’ allows for police officers to disclose information, regarding a person’s history of abusive behaviour, on their own initiative. This information would have otherwise remained confidential. When exercising this power, police must assess relevance, necessity and proportionality.

According to the office of national statistics, ‘In the year ending March 2020, 8,591 ‘right to know’ applications were applied for in England and Wales. 4479 (52%) applications resulted in disclosure.

In the year ending March 2020, 11,556 ‘right to ask ’applications were applied for in England and Wales. 4,236 (37%) applications resulted in disclosure.’

Mr Brown states that, had his daughter known about Appleton’s past, she would not have entered a relationship with him.  Clare’s Law equips people with the knowledge to make informed decisions and be proactive about their personal safety.

You can make a DVDS application by ringing 101, attending a police station or online using the link below.

Request information under Clare's Law: Make a Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme(DVDS) application | (

Report Domestic Abuse:

Report domestic abuse | (

-Author, Brogan Kelly of Family Law Direct

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