Clare’s Law launched in Manchester, as women given ‘right to know’ about partners’ history of violence

By Dean Wilkins

Women now have the ‘right to know’ if their partner has a history of domestic abuse and violence after Clare’s Law commenced today.

The father of Clare Wood, who was brutally strangled and set on fire by her ex-boyfriend George Appleton in Salford in 2009, has campaigned for a change in the law ever since his daughter’s death.

And after rallying thousands of people’s support for the change, the campaign has now been given a pilot run by Home Secretary Theresa May – backed by Eccles MP Hazel Blears.

“Following the tragic death of Clare Wood, who was a resident in Salford, I have worked closely with her father and family to gain cross-party support for ‘Clare’s Law’,” Ms Blears said.

“Too many women and men continue to suffer domestic violence and it is vital that all possible steps are taken to protect people and to provide them with the information they need to make an informed decision.”

Mum-of-one Miss Wood, 36, met Appleton on Facebook and was unaware of his appalling history of violence against women.

‘The Facebook Fugitive’ Appleton had a background of harassment, threats and the kidnapping at knifepoint of one of his ex-girlfriends – after killing Miss Wood he fled before hanging himself.

The coroner for Miss Wood’s death last year claimed it was imperative for all women to have the right to know their partner’s history in order to prevent further tragedies.

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Heywood, of Greater Manchester Police, said: “This pilot is about prevention and exploring new ways of protecting victims of domestic abuse.

“It helps individuals make an informed decision on whether or not to continue a relationship, and will provide help and support to them when making that choice.

“It will enable police to act in the best interests of those people who believe they are at risk of violence by sharing information of a partner’s violent past.”

Police may now check a person’s history if their partner, or partner’s friend, feels they are at risk of domestic abuse.

The ‘right to know’ will be consider by officers before disclosing the information and the Domestic Violence Disclosure will run in Greater Manchester, Gewnt, Wiltshire and Nottingham until September 2013.

Home Office Minister Lynne Featherstone said: “Domestic violence is a dreadful crime which sees millions of women and families suffer years of abuse.”

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