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Clare's Law - Right to Ask

The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme - known as Clare's Law - is intended to provide information that could protect someone from being a victim of attack.

The initiative is named after 36-year-old Clare Wood who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend, George Appleton, in 2009. Unbeknown to her, he had a history of violence to women. He later became known as the ‘Facebook Killer’ as he prowled the social network site in search of partners.

Clare had told her father George had a criminal record, though only for motoring offences. In fact he had been jailed for three years in 2002 for harassing another woman and for six months the previous year after breaching a restraining order on another ex-girlfriend. Clare’s father is convinced she would still be alive had she known the full extent of George’s previous behaviour.

Right to Ask: For the public

Clare’s Law will give some help to those people who think they have a partner who may be acting in a certain way which suggests that they are somebody who is violent. It enables that individual to then go to the police and they’ve got the right to ask for information about that partner. In some circumstances, it has now been extended to apply to ex-partners as well. This enables somebody to know whether their partner has a record of violence, and to be able to take a decision as to whether to stay with them or not. If they have already separated from their partner, it may also help with decisions to safeguard themselves and their family.

Absolutely anyone can apply for a disclosure using Clare’s Law – so if someone is worried about their own relationship, or someone else’s, they can make a request for information to find out if there is a risk of abuse.

How to contact Essex Police about domestic abuse:

  • 999 – if there is immediate risk to life
  • Police stations – come into any police station in Essex and you will be able to talk to someone
  • 101 – the non-emergency phone number. Call this to ask for advice and begin the application for a disclosure
  • Officers or PCSOs on the street – each knows what advice to give you and how to start the application process for disclosure

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