Clare's Law - Third Party Request
What is this scheme?
The aim of this scheme is to give members of the public a formal mechanism to make enquires about an individual who they are in a relationship with, or who is in a relationship with someone they know, and there is a concern that the individual may have a record of abuse.
If police checks show that the individual has a record of abusive offending, or there is other information to indicate the person you know is at risk, the police will consider sharing this information with the person(s) best placed to protect the potential victim.
Your local police force will discuss you r concerns with you and decide whether it is appropriate for you to be given more information to help protect the person who is in the relationship with the individual you are concerned about.
The scheme aims to enable potential victims to make an informed choice on whether to continue the relationship and provides help and support to assist the potential victim when making that informed choice.
Who can ask for disclosure?
A disclosure under this scheme is the sharing of specific information about an individual with the person making the application or a third person for the purposes of protecting a potential victim from domestic violence.
- Anyone can make an application about an individual who is or was in an intimate relationship with another person, and where there is a concern that the individual may harm or have harmed another person.
- Any concerned third par ty, such as a parent, neighbour or friend can make an application, not just the potential victim.
- A third party making an application would not necessarily receive the information about the individual concerned. It may be more appropriate for someone else to receive the information such as the potential victim or another person who is best placed to protect the potential victim.
How do I make an application?
It is important to remember that anyone can make an application to the police about an individual who is in an intimate relationship with another person, and there is a concern that the individual may present a risk of harm to their partner.
Contacting the police
There are many different ways you can contact the police:
- complete our online Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme Application - Clare's Law form
- visit a police station
- phone 101, the non-emergency number for the police
- web www.westyorkshire.police.uk/contact-us
- speak to a member of the police on the street
If you believe there is an immediate risk of harm to someone, or it is an emergency, you should always call 999.
Step One: Initial contact with the police
When you contact the police, a police officer or a member of police staff will take the details of what prompted your enquiry and the nature of your relationship with the potential victim and their partner.
They will ask you when and where it is safe to make contact with you again.
You will need to give your name, address and date of birth. At a later stage, you will need to provide proof of your identity.
The police will run some initial checks based on the information you have provided and conduct an initial risk assessment.
The purpose of these initial checks is for the police to establish if there are any immediate concerns.
These checks will not be undertaken while you are present.
If speaking to the police you allege that a crime has taken place - for example, if you say that you witnessed someone hit their partner, then the police may investigate this as a crime and may arrest the partner.
If the police believe that someone is at risk and in need of protection from harm, they will take immediate action.
No disclosure of information will take place at this stage unless it is necessary for the immediate protection of the potential victim.
Step Two: Face-to-face meeting to complete the application
Depending on the outcome of Step One, you may then be required to participate in a face-to-face meeting with the police. This meeting will be to establish further details about your application in order to assess any risk and for you to provide proof of your identity. Proof of identity should be completed within 10 days of initial contact. This should comprise of a photo ID and another form of ID (if photo ID is not available, the police will consider other forms of ID).
The forms of ID that could be used are:
- your passport
- your driving licence
- a household utility bill
- your bank statement
- your birth certificate
The police will use this meeting to gather more information from you about the nature of the relationship between the person you are concerned about and their partner or ex-partner. They may also ask for further information from you on why you have made an enquiry under this scheme.
The police may run checks and speak to other agencies including the Prison Service, the Probation Service and Social Services based on the information you give them. They will work as quickly as possible to complete the checks but, depending on the circumstances, some checks may take longer for the results to be received by the police.
It is envisaged that the maximum time that it will take to complete the whole process, including these checks and the disclosure of information, if decided necessary, is 35 days. The police will act immediately if at any point they consider the potential victim to be at risk and in need of protection from harm.
Step Three: Multi-agency meeting to consider disclosure
The police will meet with other safeguarding agencies (such as the Probation Service, Prison Service, Social Services) to discuss:
- the information that you have given them
- any additional information the police may have received from the checks they have run
- relevant information from the agencies they have talked to
The multi-agency meeting will then decide whether any disclosure is lawful, necessary and proportionate to protect the person you are concerned about from their partner. If they decide to disclose information, they will decide who should receive the information disclosure and set up a safety plan tailored to the potential victim's needs, to provide them with help and support.
Step Four: Potential disclosure
What kind of information you might be given
If the checks show that the individual, you are enquiring about has a record for abusive offending or there is other information that indicates there is a pressing need to make a disclosure to prevent further crime, the police may disclose this to the person who is most able to protect the victim.
It should be noted that details about a person's previous convictions are treated as confidential and information will only be disclosed if it is lawful and proportionate, and there is a pressing need to make the disclosure to prevent further crime.
If the checks do not show that there is a pressing need to make a disclosure to prevent further crime, the police will tell you that. This may be because the individual does not have a record of abusive offending or there is no information held to indicate they pose a risk of harm to the potential victim. Or it may be that some information is held on the individual, but this is not sufficient to demonstrate a pressing need for disclosure.
It may be the case that the individual you are asking about is not known to the police for abusive offences or there is insufficient information that indicates they pose a risk of harm to the potential victim, but they are showing worrying behaviour. In this case the police or other support agency will work with you to protect the potential victim and can provide advice and support.
Your Right to Know
Under the scheme, you may receive a disclosure even if you have not asked for one. That is because, if the police receive information about the person you know which they consider puts that person at risk of harm of domestic abuse by their partner, then they may consider disclosing that information if you are the best placed person to protect the victim.
The decision to disclose information when you have not asked for a disclosure will be made by the multi-agency meeting (described above), and the disclosure will only be made if it is lawful and proportionate, and there is a pressing need to make the disclosure to prevent further crime.
You should be aware that police checks or any disclosures made are not a guarantee of safety. The police will give you advice on how to protect the potential victim and how to recognise the warning signs of domestic abuse. They will also make sure you are aware of what local and national support is available.
After you are given information:
"Can I tell my family and friends about this? I really need to talk to someone."
If you receive a disclosure, it should be treated as confidential. It is only being given to you so that you can take steps to protect the potential victim. You must not share this information with anyone else unless you have spoken to the police, or the person who gave you the information, and they have agreed with you that it will be shared.
Subject to the condition that the information is kept confidential, you can:
- use the information to keep the potential victim and yourself safe
- use the information to keep any children involved in the situation safe
- ask what support is available
- ask for advice on how to keep yourself and others safe
The police may decide not to give you information if they think that you will discuss it with others.
The police may take action against you if the information is disclosed without their consent, which could include civil or criminal proceedings.
You should be aware that it is an offence (under Section 55 of the Data Protection Act 1998) for a person to 'k nowingly or recklessly obtain or disclose personal data without the consent of the data controller' which in this case is usually the police.
If no disclosure is made but you still have concerns and want further information about protecting someone from domestic abuse, there is action you can take for the future.
The police can provide you with information and advice on how to protect someone from violent behaviour and how to recognise the warning signs of domestic abuse. There are also a number of specialist services and organisations providing information about domestic abuse, how to spot it and how to work with the authorities to intervene.
National National Domestic Violence Helpline - 0808 2000 247
GALOP (National LGBT Domestic Abuse Helpline) - 0800 999 5428
Men's Advice Line - 0800 801 0327
Paladin (Stalking Advocacy Service) - 020 38664 107
National Stalking Helpline - 0808 802 0300
Karma Nirvana (Forced marriage and honour-based abuse) - 0800 5999 247
Victim Support - 0845 456 5995 and 0845 3030 900
Leeds Domestic Violence and Abuse Service - 0113 246 0401
Calderdale Staying Safe - 01422 323339
Staying Put (Bradford) - 0808 2800 999
Domestic Violence Services Keighley - 01535 210999
Pennine Domestic Violence Group (Kirklees) - 0800 052 7222
Wakefield Domestic Abuse Service - 0800 915 1561
Men Reaching Out (Male Domestic Abuse Service) - 01274 731020
Page last reviewed November 2022