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Women are to get the right to check a partner's background under new domestic violence law named after mother murdered by her ex-boyfriend

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 20/01/2019 Sebastian Murphy-bates For Mailonline

People will be able to check whether their partners have been domestic abusers under new legistlation.

Clare's Law - which is named after a mother who was murdered by her ex - is set to be unveiled tomorrow.

Prime Minister Theresa May will announce the move as part of a host of legal reforms, The Sun on Sunday reports. 

George Appleton, 40, strangled 36-year-old Clare Wood, from Salford, and set her on fire after they met online. 

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Ms Wood was oblivious to the fact that he'd served a three-year prison sentence for harassing another woman.

The reform that bears her name can be used by both sexes and encompasses 'economic' as well as physical abuse.

Economic abuse is when abusers use money or access to transport to control their victim.                                

The law also makes way for the appointment of a domestic abuse commissioner and victim support.  

a man standing in front of a building: Prime Minister Theresa May (pictured arriving at church this morning with her husband, Philip) will unveil Clare's Law tomorrow  © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Prime Minister Theresa May (pictured arriving at church this morning with her husband, Philip) will unveil Clare's Law tomorrow 

Mrs May says that the reforms 'leave no stone unturned' in providing protection for an estimated two million victims.

Also included in the package is the assurance that domestic abuse victims will no longer face cross-examination by their abusers in family courts. 

a man looking at the camera: Appleton (pictured) murdered  his victim after she met him online © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Appleton (pictured) murdered  his victim after she met him online

The new legislation will introduce the first statutory Government definition of domestic abuse to specifically include economic abuse and controlling and manipulative non-physical abuse.

It will also establish domestic abuse protection notices and protection orders that place restrictions on the actions of offenders. 

The Home Office has published a report into the economic and social cost of domestic abuse, which reveals the crime cost England and Wales £66 billion in 2016-17.

According to the research, the vast majority of this cost (£47 billion) was a result of the physical and emotional harm of domestic abuse but it also includes other factors such as cost to health services (£2.3 billion), police (£1.3 billion) and victim services (£724 million).

Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability Victoria Atkins said: 'I have heard absolutely heartbreaking accounts of victims whose lives have been ripped apart because of physical, emotional or economic abuse they have suffered by someone close to them.

'The draft domestic abuse Bill recognises the complex nature of these horrific crimes and puts the needs of victims and their families at the forefront.

'This Government is absolutely committed to shining a light on domestic abuse to ensure this hidden crime does not remain in the shadows.'

Justice Secretary David Gauke said: 'Domestic abuse destroys lives and warrants some of the strongest measures at our disposal to deter offenders and protect victims.

David Gauke wearing a suit and tie: Justice Secretary David Gauke (pictured outside Parliament) has said the legislation features 'some of the strongest measures at our disposal'  © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Justice Secretary David Gauke (pictured outside Parliament) has said the legislation features 'some of the strongest measures at our disposal' 

'That is why we are barring abusers from cross-examining their victims in the family courts - a practice which can cause immense distress and amount to a continuation of abuse - and giving courts greater powers, including new protection orders, to tackle this hideous crime.'

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott, responding to the Bill's publication, said: 'On average two women a week are killed by a current or former partner. Survivors of domestic violence have been made to wait too long for this Bill.

Clare's Law: how you can ask police if your partner is an abuser 

The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS) is often called ‘Clare’s Law’ after the landmark case that led to it.

Clare’s Law gives any member of the public the right to ask the police if their partner may pose a risk to them.

A member of the public can also make enquiries into the partner of a close friend or family member.

To apply you must go to a police station in person, and discuss your concerns and situation with a police officer or staff member.

Police and partner agencies will then carry out a range of checks.

If these reveal a record of abusive offences, or suggest a risk of violence or abuse, they will consider sharing this information.

The disclosure will usually be made in person, to the person at risk, at a time and place agreed in advance to be safe. 

SOURCE: MPS 

'If the Tories are serious about combating domestic violence, then there should be long term funding commitments to ensure sufficient resources are available for abuse survivors.'

Sandra Horley, chief executive of the charity Refuge, said: 'Refuge welcomes the draft Bill announced by the Government today.

Chief Executive of the charity 'Refuge' Sandra Horley attends the launch of the government's largest ever debate and consultation on women's safety and violence against women in London.   (Photo by Stefan Rousseau - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images) © Getty Chief Executive of the charity 'Refuge' Sandra Horley attends the launch of the government's largest ever debate and consultation on women's safety and violence against women in London. (Photo by Stefan Rousseau - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)

'Refuge staff deal with the human misery of domestic violence every day. The cost to women and children's lives is devastating.

'But now the immense cost to the taxpayer has been laid bare, too. Domestic violence is truly everybody's business.

'This Bill represents a once in a generation opportunity to address domestic violence but in order to do so we must ensure its aspirations are matched by adequate resource.

'We will continue to work closely with the Government to ensure the final Bill meets the needs of the women and children we support.'

Katie Ghose, chief executive of Women's Aid, said: 'That domestic abuse costs society £66 billion a year and the lives of on average two women a week in England and Wales should be a wake-up call for us all.

'Now is the time to bring it out into the spotlight and address the impact of domestic abuse properly once and for all.'

She added: 'We look forward to working with the government, our member services and survivors themselves to make sure survivors have the resources and support they need, as well as address the root causes of domestic abuse so that every woman and child can live free from fear and abuse.'

Ms Ghose said the domestic abuse bill has the potential to create 'a step change in the national response, to create a more effective approach to tackling domestic abuse; sustainable funding for our life-saving network of specialist support services must be at the centre of this if we are to make a real difference to survivors' lives'.

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