Planned changes to Clare's Law welcomed by Wiltshire PCC
Plans to reduce the number of days that police forces have to disclose information about a person’s violent or abusive behaviour have been welcomed by Wiltshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner.
The proposed changes to the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS), known as Clare’s Law, are currently out for consultation. The scheme means members of the public can ask the police for information on their partner’s criminal history to know if they are at risk of violence or abuse.
Clare's Law also empowers police forces, under Right to Know, to make a disclosure on its own initiative if they receive information about the violent or abusive behaviour of a person that may impact on the safety of that person’s current or ex-partner.
Wiltshire PCC Philip Wilkinson said the new measures, which will reduce the number of days the police have to disclose information from 35 to 28, means victims and potential victims could get critical data which could make a difference to their safety quicker.
Mr Wilkinson added: “I very much welcome a quicker turnaround by police forces in their information disclosures of this type. Any measures which can be taken and means victims, or potential victims, get timely and relevant information faster so they can move to protect themselves can only be an improvement.
“It is absolutely right that police forces provide this to ensure better support and faster protection for victims of violence and abuse. By doing this we are protecting the most vulnerable in our society, as well as moving to prevent violence and domestic abuse from happening in the first place.
“Both the Chief Constable and I are committed to reducing violence and serious harm crime in Wiltshire, and it is a key priority within my new police and crime plan.
“We have ensured there is an increased strategic focus on tackling violence against women and girls across the county and, based upon operational advice, we have invested more than £750,000 in this financial year to deliver this strategy.”
Adhering to Clare’s Law – and implementing any new measures – is just one way Wiltshire Police help to deliver the commissioner’s strategic policing blueprint for the county: Making Wiltshire Safer.
In the plan, the PCC has prioritised reducing violence and domestic abuse, and violence against women and girls. He said this faster access to criminal history will be just one element which will help.
Mr Wilkinson said: “Underpinning the strategic direction for my police and crime plan has always been the core philosophy that one victim is one victim too many.
“These planned new guidelines will mean people will be able to gain access to critical information, earlier and quicker than before, potentially preventing abuse or violence happening or providing victims with the catalyst to seek relevant help and support.
“It's also important to stress that victims of domestic abuse are able to access specialist support, without having to report to the police, and if you're worried about a colleague, friend or loved one you are able to seek advice on their behalf."
Victims of domestic violence or abuse can get help and support from support services across Wiltshire by calling Splitz Support Service on 01225 775276 or on the out of hours helpline 01225 712880. Those living in the Swindon Borough area can contact Swindon Domestic Abuse Support Service (SWA) on 01793 610610 (24/7). In an emergency dial 999.