Wiltshire Police has seen an increase in the number of people applying for information about their partner to see if they have a violent history.
The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS) - also known as Clare's Law - allows a person or concerned family or friends to request information from the police as to whether a partner has a history of abusive or controlling behaviour. It's then up to our officers to consider the application on a case-by-case basis to check if it's lawful to divulge information back to the person asking.
Figures for 2018 show 306 applications and 156 disclosures compared to 2019 figures of 444 applications and 205 disclosures - a rise of 45% in applications between 2018 and 2019.
Figures for January to August 2019 show 302 applications and 138 disclosures compared to January to August 2020 (latest figures) - 348 applications and 159 disclosures - a rise of 15% in applications over the past year.
These figures form part of a campaign launched this week (w/c 21 Sept) by Wiltshire Police to highlight the help available by police and their partners for any victim of domestic abuse.
Detective Superintendent Ben Mant, Head of Wiltshire Police's Public Protection Department, said: "Wiltshire Police is committed to supporting victims and targeting the perpetrators of domestic abuse, which can take many different forms.
This can include physical, sexual, financial, emotional and psychological abuse. It is therefore important that victims know what is and isn't acceptable and that they have somewhere to turn to when they think their partner may be acting in a way that causes concern.
"Clare's Law is ultimately about protecting those most susceptible to domestic abuse - whether it is happening now or in the future. We continue to work hard to encourage people to use the scheme, and this is evidenced in our most recent figures where we are seeing a rise in applications.
"As well as the domestic violence disclosure scheme, we have specialist teams to work with victims of domestic abuse who understand the complex nature of this type of behaviour and can work closely with partner agencies to ensure the appropriate advice is provided."
Police and Crime Commissioner, Angus Macpherson, said: "Anything that can help and protect victims of domestic abuse is a good thing.
"Clare's Law is one of the measures available to the public and police to provide help to anyone who may become or is already a victim of domestic abuse.
"However, as these latest figures reflect, people are contacting the police.
"Through this latest campaign I want to raise awareness of the services that are in place to help in particular those who have become a victim of domestic abuse.
"The Coronavirus pandemic and recent lockdown would have been very difficult for some people who may have found themselves in a harmful situation. As the measures are reduced in part and more facilities are open, we may again see people taking advantage of social situations to harm others.
"I fund and commission a number of victim support services, including specialist ones for victims of domestic abuse. Not only are these services there to support victims in the lead up to and during court cases but they're also able to offer support for those who may not want to report what has happened to the police.
"My message to anyone suffering abuse from a so called loved one is report it - you are not alone."
For more information on the DVDS scheme and to apply please visit the Wiltshire Police website.