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Author Topic: Clare's Law - What do you think?  (Read 7385 times)

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Offline Cushion Plumper

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Clare's Law - What do you think?
« on: March 08, 2014, 04:36:05 PM »
I'm really pleased that Clare's Law is now in force and that someone can find out from the police if their partner has a violent past.  However, I am sceptical about how many people (women in particular) it will actually help to protect.

What type of woman will take advantage of this law and use it? 

Will it be someone who has recently started dating a man and wants to know in advance if he has anything in his past to be worried about?  If so, what if she finds out he has been violent, (or accused of - but never prosecuted for violence) towards a former girlfriend, yet up to this point has been charming and attentive and not displayed any sign of violence, jealousy or control so far in this new relationship?  It's going to take a very strong and wilful person to end a relationship that seems to be going well so far on the basis of what she's found out historically, and in reality, and from what I know of previous disclosures in other police areas that have run this, it doesn't happen.  Some women tend to think that they can change a man, that he has only been abusive in the past because that partner didn't understand him or treat him right, that he will be different this time because she can help him with his problems etc.  They will not end a relationship before the abuse starts, and even when it does, they will still give him the benefit of the doubt and say he was stressed/tired/troubled/money worries.. and before they know it they are then tangled up and in abusive relationship themselves.

Will it be a woman who is in a relationship with a man who has already hit her?   If so, why base a decision to stay or leave someone only on the basis of whether they have a history of this to other people?  If you have already been assaulted, or fear you may be assaulted and are subjected to control and abusive behaviour then you should be thinking about getting out of the relationship anyway, regardless of whether he's done it to someone else or not.  Why should finding out if he has a history of it make a difference to your decisions?

Having worked in the DV area for a while I am aware of many women who have been warned about their partner's behaviour and past by society around them, yet this has made no difference whatsoever; they have still got involved with them and then been assaulted, some of them very seriously.  Why are they going to take any notice of the police telling them?  The police cannot disclose the exact history or level of violence, only that someone has been violent towards an ex partner or not. 

I doubt very much I'd ever make use of Clare's Law.  I would trust my own judgements and would know quite quickly if a man was showing signs of behaviour that I would find unacceptable.  It would make no difference if he had a clean sheet in the past or not.

What are your views on this?  I'm particularly interested in hearing from men too?  Would you use this law to find out if there's a history of violence on a girlfriend?
« Last Edit: March 08, 2014, 09:47:00 PM by Cushion Plumper »
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Offline WT4

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Re: Claire's Law - What do you think?
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2014, 05:20:06 PM »
Nope ... not really interested in the past ... everyone has skeletons (or baggage) ... if it doesn't make its presence known I see no need to go dig it up.

On the judgement call thing ...
# my filters are set so high these days only a sianted vestal virgin is gonna get through anyhow, so whilst I'm inclined to trust my judgement these days ...
# love changes everything ... they don't call it the Little Insanity for nothing ... no one in love can rely on their own judgement.
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Offline Foggy

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Re: Claire's Law - What do you think?
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2014, 05:26:42 PM »
Some individuals can be very charming at the start of a relationship, either as a subterfuge to reel you in, or genuinely charming until they get bored or challenged.

If previous violent behaviour has got to the stage that it has been reported to the authorities, I would be worried that there was some underlying problem.

If it was only myself to worry about I might give the benefit of the doubt, but with a young child to consider I would err on the side of caution.

As a guy I would have no problems at all with prospective new partners checking me out.

Offline Foggy

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Re: Claire's Law - What do you think?
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2014, 05:29:35 PM »
Must add -- I am with WT4 on the filters front --- I think a new relationship will have to creep up on me over quite some protracted period of time .... so I guess the littl 'un won't be so little :-)

Offline scatily

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Re: Claire's Law - What do you think?
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2014, 07:02:51 PM »
I'm not sure but the first guy I dated after my marriage broke down was charming, good looking, spoilt me, looked after me etc etc but claimed to have a totally mental ex. Indeed I witnessed some of her behaviour and it was a bit scary.

Then we went out for his sisters 40th, I drove to the hall where the party was but it was always agreed in advance I'd leave the car if I wanted a drink, I'm not really a drinker but now and again I will. Anyway I decided once we got to a club after the party I did want to drink, I'd met him through my best friend so all our friends were there and it was turning into a really good night. From the moment I made the decision he changed, ignoring me until we left, once outside he really laid into me about being 'pi**ed', demanded I drive him home. I refused, he pushed me against the car, took my keys off me and pretty much lifted me /threw me into the car. To this day I can't believe I stayed in a car with a drunk driver or allowed him to take my keys, but he was 6ft 5 and built like a house (I'm a 8 stone weakling) so probably no other option. He drive to mine, dropped me off and then drove back to his house in MY car, i was given no choice and left sobbing. We split but stayed friends the next day. A few weeks later I got a call from the police, both him and his ex wife were under arrest for fighting and their 8 year old son needed someone to look after him, the poor kid was sat at the station with both parents in custody, dad had given my name as someone he could trust to collect him. I did of course but also at that point realised what a near miss I had probably had. I think they were both actually a bit 'mental' and having got out of a violent marriage it was not something I intended to knowingly walk into again, but I almost had.

So my point, if Claire's law had existed back then I think I would have checked the next guy out pretty much ASAP. I may have blinkers on now and again trying to see the good in people but my child would always come first so having the ability to make sure my own judgement hadn't gone AWOL again, I'd take it. The point though is I guess you have to be able to admit your own judgement is pants to take advantage, like an addict you can't move on until you know your weakness so I see your point CP about many many people not thinking the use of this could apply to them  ???

Offline Foggy

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Re: Claire's Law - What do you think?
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2014, 07:49:02 PM »
I think a point worth making, as well, is not to RELY solely on the outcome of any inquiry and still keep your wits about you.

As with the CRB ( whatever they are called these days) checks -- they only confirm the subject has never been caught !

Offline scatily

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Re: Claire's Law - What do you think?
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2014, 08:09:41 PM »
Absolutely Foggy, and it's now a DBS  ;)

Offline Cushion Plumper

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Re: Clare's Law - What do you think?
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2014, 09:42:21 PM »
Some interesting responses so far, and thanks scatily for sharing your experience with your ex.
Thank goodness you had the strength to end the relationship the next day and not give the guy the benefit of the doubt.  I'm no longer surprised to hear how many men have a 'mad' ex girlfriend/wife and now find these comments a bit dubious.  Have these women gone 'mad' for a reason?!

@ Foggy - your theory for CRB/DBS checks are spot on!  I think they may be designed to prevent known offenders from applying for jobs, leaving it safe for the unknown ones to go for them instead.

In relation to Clare's Law I need to find out if arrests for DV that doesn't lead to a prosecution can be revealed to the person applying for the information or not.  Up until about 12 years ago an arrest that didn't result in a charge or summons did not leave a footprint anywhere (hence Ian Huntley getting a caretaker job in a school) and it was as a result of the murders he committed that things changed.  Nowadays, any arrest is recorded, even if the person is then released without charge due to no complaint or lack of evidence to proceed.  Several perpetrators of my victims have been arrested many times for violence but never been charged because the victim has either refused to make a complaint or there have been no independent witnesses and CPS will not authorise a charge.  This means the offender has never been convicted of the crime so is technically 'innocent'.  I will find out if these situations can be disclosed and let you know.  If they're not, then Clare's Law will fail some people.  I shall keep you posted.

« Last Edit: March 08, 2014, 09:52:12 PM by Cushion Plumper »
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Offline Cushion Plumper

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Re: Clare's Law - What do you think?
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2014, 10:06:29 PM »
I think a point worth making, as well, is not to RELY solely on the outcome of any inquiry and still keep your wits about you.


I think this is my main concern about the disclosure.  If a woman finds there is no 'past history' and the man then becomes violent it is very easy for the woman to think it's her fault!  Abusers are very good at playing that game and passing the blame.  In theory, there should be no need for Clare's Law because we should be able to identify a point in a relationship where we need to get out, regardless of someone's past history.  It's only going to work if women (or men) take heed of what they are told if they are going to apply for it, otherwise, what's the point?

So, if I knew a guy had beaten up a past girlfriend there is no way I would want to date him.  If a man I was dating revealed he had assaulted a past girlfriend but shown no signs of alarming behaviour to me then I would probably proceed with caution and end the relationship at the first warning sign. If I was dating a man that I'd got no idea about his past relationships I'd still end it at the first warning sign of any abusive/jealous/threatening behaviour.  (Of course this is all hypothetical because I no longer date and am happily single!)

As for women who write to prisoners serving long sentences because they want a pen pal and then start dating them on release, only to become victims of abuse... well, let's not get me started on that one!
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Offline Dora

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Re: Clare's Law - What do you think?
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2014, 12:33:57 PM »
It was trialled where I live, so I could have used it before moving in with my partner, but I chose not to - for the same reasons as Sarah's law - it only proves that you've been caught - it doesn't actually mean you are innocent.

For me, it's an instinct thing - I got into a bad relationship and stayed there for far too long, but if I had followed my instincts in the first place then I would have left. I like to think that I have learnt from my mistakes and would now leave at the first time of trouble. I am far more confident now and it was my lack of confidence that failed me in the first place.

I think that the law is a good idea and I am sure that there are some it will be helpful to, but my other major concern was that if I asked for my partner to be checked then perhaps the police would think I was checking because my partner was abusive to me and I don't feel it fair that someone innocent could be labelled. I was also unclear on how the inquiry would be logged - ie would his name then be placed in the system?

If I had had my ex husband checked he would have come up completely clean even though he had committed crimes and been abusive to me - he just hadn't been caught at that time. Plus, if it had flagged something up, he was so persuasive and I had so little confidence or self esteem that I'm not sure I would have found the courage to leave. I hope that those who do use the law are referred straight to Women's Aid to help them leave if the check does show up a history of violence.
Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder…”– Thoreau

Offline debs2702

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Re: Clare's Law - What do you think?
« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2014, 02:02:50 PM »
I think like everything you have to use your gut reaction.  Everyone has a personal radar and the question is some people, although they know that something is not right will still continue in that relationship because  they think that they will be the one to change that person.  ???  All too often they then become the victim.  Its down to each and every individual concerned to listen to that voice inside their head that says, this is not right, you are worth so much more than this crap.  There lieth the problem too, in that women and men don't have the confidence to walk away.  They think that it is better to be in a relationship than alone.  Some people just can't cope with being on their own. 

Being completely honest I used to be like this.  I would put up with crap because I didn't want to upset the apple cart of security that I believed my children and I had and I kept telling myself that I didn't want the children to be part of a "broken" home. 

I do think that Clare's Law is a good idea.  With so many divorces and separations and one parent families looking to find new relationships it is important to check out the past of someone you are intending to move into your home, your inner sanctity but more importantly above everything else, the person that you are intending to introduce your children to and for them to be part of their world.  My youngest and I live alone but I am in a relationship.  Should that relationship ever progress to the point of moving someone into my house then I would, for the sake of me and my daughter go through the necessary checks as a first tick box exercise.  If someone said to me that they wanted to check me out through the police checks I would be the first to welcome that with open arms because it would show me first hand that they place just as much importance on their safety and wellbeing as I do mine and that we share the same values.  Saying that... I have nothing to hide and the worse that anyone is going to find on me is speeding points.

So in a nutshell I am in favour of Clare's Law but like everything it is going to have loopholes and people are going to get through the net.   You just have to listen to those voices in your head that tell you err, this isn't right and have the confidence to act upon them.
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Offline jenz

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Re: Clare's Law - What do you think?
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2014, 08:44:12 PM »
I wish that I could have used Sarah's law on my ex after we split up. I really didn't understand what was going on. He changed from a loving, caring man into a very nasty threatening drunk. I left immediately, but couldn't cut ties due to having 2 kids with him. The following weeks his threats got worse and worse and I thought I was losing my mind. He was very clever (as they often are) and did it all in a way that wasn't really direct but I was left in no doubt as to his sentiment. I was scared of him having the kids and what he was capable of and I had no idea where to turn. I ended up delving into his background and eventually managed to contact his daughter from his first marriage to find out he'd been a nasty abusive husband and father in that relationship - the whole thing totally hidden for 8 years with me. Eventually I found out that he had a conviction for assaulting another woman. Although I wouldn't have contacted the police to check  him out initially, once he'd revealed his true nastiness it would have helped me to act quicker and understand the situation which would have saved an awful lot of stress and anxiety for me and my kids.

Having been completely taken in by him  I would use Sarah's law in the future. I get what everyone is saying about it only revealing those that have been caught, but if you're as nasty as that you're bound to have something in your past by the time you get to my age!!

Offline Thriller81

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Re: Clare's Law - What do you think?
« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2015, 01:01:08 PM »
I also work within the DV field as a Support Worker, as well as being in an abusive relationship.

I have mixed feelings regards to Clares Law. 

My ex partner was very charming to begin with it leads you into a false sense of security.  Yet he did not physically hurt me, giving time I think it would of happened. It was all emotional and psychological abuse and as you may know you cant be charged for psychological abuse, even the stalking and harassment law is so hard to enforce.  My Ex as far as i was aware did not have a criminal history of domestic abuse so therfor Clares Law would and will be of no use in this case.

If you have never been in an abusive relationship I dont think you would be able to spot the signs as someone who has e.g. i am now wary of any man who is so nice and complimentary and buying gifts from the start, but to someone with no experience that would be endearing.  So I doubt they would go to the police to enquire about a new partners past.

On the other hand, if this person has been in the past charged with dv and someone is concerned then that information will come out, so that person is now armed with that information and hopefully chooses to get out while they can.

The law on Domestic Abuse needs to be tightened and changed as in my line of work there is nothing so awful than seeing someone go through a horrifying trial after living a nightmare for the perpetrator to be let off due to not enough evidence!

Offline Silky

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Re: Clare's Law - What do you think?
« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2015, 04:50:07 PM »
I agree on spotting the signs - abusers are charming to their victims, until they've managed to isolate them from friends and family and have them totally under their control. They continue with the charm to others so that no one would ever expect, never mind believe what goes on behind closed doors. 

My partner's daughter had a relationship last year with someone who tried the very same once they'd got a flat together - he was as nice as nine pins up until that.  Fortunately her family saw the signs early on and she managed to get out of the relationship, she did report the physical abuse to the police though for future reference - just in case someone else (or someone else's family) want to check up on him.

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Offline LAK

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Re: Clare's Law - What do you think?
« Reply #14 on: October 15, 2015, 10:44:48 AM »

My partner's daughter had a relationship last year with someone who tried the very same once they'd got a flat together - he was as nice as nine pins up until that.  Fortunately her family saw the signs early on and she managed to get out of the relationship, she did report the physical abuse to the police though for future reference - just in case someone else (or someone else's family) want to check up on him.


Good for her!  I would absolutely use Clare's Law and Sarah's Law and she's helping to protect people by reporting it.  Abusers don't come with labels and I agree that the signs are hard to spot unless you've experienced it or been close to someone who has.

Does anyone watch Corrie?  Is it just me being paranoid or can anyone else see a situation starting to happen?
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