Clare’s Law was passed in the United Kingdom and rolled out in March 2014, named after Clare Wood who died in 2009 at the hands of her violent, abusive boyfriend. The law allows the police to disclose information about a person’s previous history of domestic violence or violent acts, if requested by their partner. Clare Wood was unaware that her boyfriend had a history of violence against women, including that he’d served two prison sentences for violence against two previous girlfriends.
In the year since, it is reported that over police have made over 1300 disclosures, potentially saving 1300 women from entering into relationships with known abusers. Anyone given a disclosure is also given support so that they can leave the relationship safely.
Australia does not have a law like this one. But domestic violence is a national epidemic with 2 women dying every week on average at the hands of violent partners.
This week, the LNP in Queensland released a consultation paper that allows discussion on a scheme similar to Clare’s Law. The LNP says that the consultation paper is in response to the report conducted by former Governor-General Quentin Bryce into domestic violence in Australia.
General Manager of “Working Against Violence Support Service” (WAVSS) Linda-Ann Northey supported the consultation paper.
“We have seen many cases where repeat offenders have a long history of violence, moving from one relationship to another, and appearing in Court time and time again,” Ms Northey said.
New South Wales is currently seeking feedback on a discussion paper regarding a similar scheme. Women could request information about the potentially violent pasts of partners. NSW Minister for Women Pru Goward says: “The vast majority of offenders in domestic violence are repeat offenders. Every time they get away with it, they are more likely to repeat.”
She says she is hopeful an early warning scheme could protect women from entering into relationships that could turn violent.
If you’d like further information about the Queensland discussion paper, you can visit it here.
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