Posted by: aboutalbion | March 11, 2014

Clare’s law

I welcome the introduction last weekend of what is known in England and Wales as “Clare’s law”.  It is named after Clare Wood (aged 36) who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in 2009.

Clare’s law, or to give it its official name, the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, enables partners to find out from the police if their partner has a history of domestic violence.  I would expect it to offer some level of protection against behaviour which is not according to the rule of law, and may be life-threatening.  After all, the claim is often made that, on average, two women every week in this country are murdered by their current (or former) partners.

Critics of Clare’s law will highlight (i) the suggestion that most violent partners are not known to the police and their records, (ii) the suggestion that police records are not necessarily completely reliable, and (iii) the distinction between the more visible discrete acts of physical violence and the almost invisible ongoing episodes of emotional violence.

The fact the Clare’s law was introduced on International Women’s Day reinforces the perception that domestic violence is predominantly male on female.  In time, I hope the reality, known to researchers, that a significant proportion of incidents are female on male violence, will become more widely appreciated.

On balance, I feel that Clare’s law should be welcomed as a contribution to a complex issue.

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