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Clare’s Law – BBC Spotlight

In a recent interview on BBC Spotlight, Lyn Gooding, the Chief Executive of First Light, discussed the significance of Clare’s Law in combating domestic violence.

Clare’s Law, also known as the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS), empowers individuals to seek information from the police concerning the potential risk posed by their current or former partners. The process involves a thorough examination of police records and partner agencies’ insights to ascertain any history of abusive behaviour or violence. Should the checks reveal concerning findings, the police may disclose this information to the applicant, underlining the rights encapsulated within Clare’s Law: the right to ask and the right to know.


The Right to Ask: This provision enables individuals to proactively seek information regarding their partner’s background, particularly if they suspect a history of abusive behaviour. Notably, one can also make an inquiry on behalf of a close friend or relative who may be at risk, although disclosure isn’t guaranteed depending on the circumstances.

The Right to Know: If police investigations uncover a partner’s alarming past, they may opt to share this information with the concerned individual to mitigate potential risks.


Clare’s Law emerged as a response to a critical loophole in the legal framework, which allowed domestic abusers to conceal their violent or abusive history. Tragically, this lack of transparency proved fatal in the case of Clare Wood, whose name the law honours. Clare was a victim of domestic violence, unaware of her partner’s past. Her father, Michael Brown, spearheaded a relentless campaign for change, culminating in the establishment of Clare’s Law. Today, it stands as a testament to the power of advocacy in safeguarding lives and preventing future tragedies.

Lyn Gooding underscores the community’s pivotal role in leveraging Clare’s Law. She emphasises that it’s not solely the individuals within a relationship who can utilise this legislation, friends and family members also hold the power to seek crucial information if they have concerns about a loved one’s safety.

While Clare’s Law equips individuals with vital information, Lyn Gooding emphasises the importance of exercising caution on any information found. Confrontation may increase risks in abusive relationships. Instead, she advocates for seeking guidance from organisations like First Light on navigating the complexities of abusive dynamics and devising safe exit strategies.

For those seeking to utilise Clare’s Law, the process begins with making a DVDS application through the official channels provided by the police. By taking this proactive step, individuals can gain insights that may potentially save lives.

Clare’s Law symbolises a beacon of hope in the fight against domestic violence. By granting individuals the right to access vital information, it empowers communities to break the cycle of abuse and create a safer, more supportive environment for all.

To request information under Clare’s Law and make a DVDS application, visit the link below.