We Talk about Reducing the Harm Caused by Domestic Abuse and Stopping It. but We Must Halt It before It Even Begins; POLICE CHIEF TELLS OF DETERMINATION AS CLARE'S LAW ALERTS 1596 TO RISK IN 3 YRS

Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland), September 30, 2018 | Go to article overview

We Talk about Reducing the Harm Caused by Domestic Abuse and Stopping It. but We Must Halt It before It Even Begins; POLICE CHIEF TELLS OF DETERMINATION AS CLARE'S LAW ALERTS 1596 TO RISK IN 3 YRS


Byline: Jenny Morrison

Almost 1600 people in Scotland have been warned their partner has an abusive past as a result of Clare's Law.

Figures released exclusively to the Sunday Mail show that in the last three years, 3514 members of the public have approached police concerned that either their partner or an individual in a relationship with a loved one may have a history of violence or domestic abuse.

A total of 1596 were warned they may be at risk.

Tomorrow marks the third anniversary of the national roll-out of the Right to Ask or Disclosure Scheme for Domestic Abuse (Scotland), known as Clare's Law.

The initiative was named after Clare Wood, 36, who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in 2009.

She had been unaware he had a history of abuse against women.

Detective Superintendent Gordon McCreadie, national lead for domestic abuse at Police Scotland, is in no doubt the new legislation is helping save lives. He said: "We often talk about reducing the harm caused by domestic abuse and ultimately eradicating it.

"The truth of the matter is we want to prevent it before it occurs.

"A great indicator of a person's future behaviour is their past behaviour. While there are exceptions where people can change, this scheme gives people the opportunity to make a decision about whether or not they want to continue in a relationship with someone they know has been abusive in the past."

Police in Scotland receive a report of domestic abuse every nine minutes but know many more go unreported.

In 2016-2017, there were almost 59,000 cases of domestic abuse recorded by Police Scotland, including nine cases where a woman was killed by her partner.

McCreadie added: "One domestic homicide in Scotland is one too many.

"Anything we can do to prevent a person from becoming a victim has got to be a positive thing. There has been a 40 per cent rise in the Right to Ask in the past 12 months. This is one way in which we can prevent it."

Under the scheme, anyone can contact police and ask if a person has a history of domestic abuse. If the person has any relevant past convictions, specialised officers will carefully alert their partner they may be at risk.

The partner will be offered a range of different support services from Police Scotland and other victim support partner agencies.

Officers may also consider sharing the information with a friend or relative they feel is best placed to protect the potential victim.

McCreadie said: "Often in the honeymoon period of a new relationship, the partner of a domestic abuser may not see how manipulative the perpetrator is being.

"They don't actually recognise those early signs of abuse or that they're in an abusive relationship until it is too late.

Claire was murdered "Quite often it's the friends, work colleagues or relatives of the victim who see the change in their behaviour.

"They might start to see them become more isolated. They might start to see them becoming less confident, perhaps a change in the way they dress or even a black eye. …

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