Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme 

You can use the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS), also known as Clare’s Law, to potentially find out if a partner has a record with the police for committing domestic abuse or violence.

The DVDS therefore helps to protect people who may be at risk of domestic abuse from their partner.

What is Clare’s Law?

Clare’s Law is named after Clare Wood who was tragically murdered by her boyfriend in the UK in 2009. Her killer had a history of domestic violence towards women which she had no knowledge of.

Now, Clare’s Law allows you to discreetly apply for information about your own partner or a friend or family member’s partner, if you suspect they may become violent.

The police may share information with you, someone who is in a safeguarding role, if the person you’re enquiring about has a history of domestic abuse or violence.

How to use Clare’s Law

You can apply to find out information about someone using the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme either online or at a police station.

Applying for a request online

Make a request online by using the police website. It will take around 15 minutes to do.

You’ll need:

  • The full name of the person you think might pose a risk, and any names they’ve gone by in the past.
  • The current address and any previous addresses of the person you think might be a risk.

You’ll be asked how you’d like to be contacted once you’ve made the request. This is the only way you’ll be contacted, so nobody else will know about this unless you tell them. The police will also ask when the best time and date is to contact you, so you don’t get any unexpected calls or messages.

Applying for a request at the police station

You can go to any police station and ask to make a Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme request.

You’ll be asked for your name, address and date of birth, and a safe way to contact you. The police will also carry out a couple of checks to make sure there aren’t any immediate risks or concerns.

What happens after the request is made?

The police will get in touch with you the way you asked them to. They might share information about the person you think could be a risk over the phone, or ask if you are available for a face to face meeting with one of their specialist teams.

Can anyone find out I’ve made a DVDS request?

No. The police won’t let anyone know you’ve made a request, so don’t let it stop you from making a request.

If you’re concerned about domestic abuse, visit our debt, relationships, and domestic abuse section.