Brit women can inquire about boyfriends' violent past under new law
London, July 15 (ANI): Women in Britain will now have the right to ask police whether their new boyfriend has a history of domestic violence.
Under a controversial initiative dubbed 'Clare's Law,' police and other agencies will be able to carry out checks and warn women if they are at risk.
Home Secretary Theresa May is launching trials in selected areas before rolling it out nationally.
The scheme follows fears that internet dating has left many women in the dark about their partners' backgrounds.
Clare's Law is named after Clare Wood, who was killed by a man she met on Facebook.
George Appleton strangled Wood, 36, in Manchester in 2009 and set her body on fire before he hanged himself.
Wood's family later discovered that Appleton had convictions for violence against women, including the knifepoint kidnapping of one of his ex-girlfriends.
Wood's father Michael Brown has been championing the Clare's Law campaign.
"Domestic violence is a dreadful crime which sees two women a week die at the hands of their partners, and millions more suffer years of abuse in their own homes. That is why we are constantly looking at new ways of protecting victims," the Daily Mail quoted May as saying.
However, critics, including domestic violence charity Refuge, said that the initiative would waste police resources.
Others said it could result in malicious claims being made against innocent people.
Under the scheme, both women and men will be able to ask police whether a new or existing partner with whom they have an "intimate" relationship has a violent past.
Applications can also be made by friends, relatives or neighbours who have reasonable concerns about an acquaintance's partner.
According to police sources, people who made malicious claims would be weeded out during detailed telephone and face-to-face interviews.
If police decide that a person may be at risk, they will meet other agencies to discuss how to disclose the information and ensure that person is safe.
Officers could also take the initiative to warn someone that he or she is at risk if they are given information from a third party such as a doctor.
Sources stress that information will be released only after officers are fully satisfied that the concerns are genuine.
The first trials will be launched in Wiltshire and Gwent, followed by those in Manchester and Nottingham in September.
Gwent Chief Constable Carmel Napier, who is responsible for domestic violence issues for the Association of Chief Police Officers, said: "The scheme is intended to empower people to make informed decisions to protect themselves and their children when getting involved with a new partner." (ANI)
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