Tories to introduce Clare's Law
Mail on Sunday http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2015564/Clares-law-After-mothers-brutal-murder-women-right-check-abusive-partners-criminal-records.html
Clare's law: After mother's brutal murder, women to get right to check abusive partners' criminal records
Last updated at 10:51 PM on 16th July 2011
Women who use the internet to seek boyfriends will win the right to force the police to reveal if they have a history of violence under plans being considered by Home Secretary Theresa May.
The controversial move is in response to fears that the growing phenomenon of internet dating means more and more women are going out with men whose backgrounds they know little about.
The proposal has been called ‘Clare’s Law’, after the horrific killing of 36-year-old mother Clare Wood by a man she met on Facebook. George Appleton strangled Ms Wood and set her body on fire before hanging himself.
Friends and family were shocked to discover that the killer had a history of violence against women, including repeated harassment, threats and the kidnapping at knifepoint of one of his other ex-girlfriends.
A Clare’s Law campaign is to be launched tomorrow. It is modelled on Sarah’s Law’, the successful fight to give parents the right to check on paedophiles in their area after the murder of schoolgirl Sarah Payne.
In a letter seen by The Mail on Sunday, Mrs May indicates she is considering introducing Clare’s Law and will make an announcement in the next few weeks.
She says: ‘Tackling violence against women and girls is a priority for this Government.’
However, some believe the well-intentioned plan could jeopardise civil liberties.
Tory MP Robert Buckland, a member of the Commons Justice Committee, said: ‘We’re all in favour of curbing violence against women but we have to be certain this will not lead to fishing expeditions by women demanding confidential information about potential boyfriends without proper justification.
‘You cannot have a carte blanche system where people can simply turn up at a police station, give the name of a boyfriend or potential boyfriend, and expect the police to open up all the files on him. There will have to be strict controls on any proposal of this nature.’
Supporters of Clare’s Law insist that there would be safeguards to prevent any such abuse.
But Louise Casey, the Government’s victims’ commissioner, said: ‘Our priority should not be protecting a perpetrator’s privacy at the expense of costing a woman’s life.’
The Clare’s Law campaign is being led by former Labour Cabinet Minister Hazel Blears and Ms Wood’s father, Michael Brown.
Mr Brown, 67, a former prison officer, last night told The Mail on Sunday he would do ‘anything I can’ to get the proposals agreed, adding: ‘There needs to be greater protection.’
He also said: ‘My daughter wasn’t stupid. If she had known about that man’s past, she would have taken herself out of there in a heartbeat.’
Former Home Office Minister Ms Blears, who was Ms Wood’s MP, said the launch just a few weeks ago of a national police database made Clare’s Law checks simple to carry out.
The Salford MP said: ‘Women in Clare’s situation often are unaware of their partner’s previous relationships and this can mean they start a relationship with someone with no idea if they have a violent past. Until women are given the right to know if their partner has a history of serial domestic abuse, they can’t be sure of the risk that they face.
‘By changing the law we can empower women so that they can take informed action about their relationship and give them the chance to protect themselves.’
Ms Blears pointed out that a survey showed overwhelming backing for Clare’s Law, with 91 per cent of women consulted saying a person had the right to know if their partner had a recorded history of domestic violence.
The radical proposals are based on recommendations by Wiltshire Police Chief Constable Brian Moore, who speaks for the Association of Chief Police Officers on violence against women.
The draft Clare’s Law scheme would include allowing women with concerns about their partners to apply to their local police station for information on any violent past. More controversially, police would proactively warn women that their partner was a potential danger.
Police sources stressed that information would be released only by police officers of inspector rank and above, and after they were fully satisfied someone’s concerns about their partner was genuine.
After the inquest into Ms Wood’s death, coroner Jennifer Leeming wrote to the Home Office to recommend a system of checks which has become the basis of Clare’s Law.
Ms Wood was initially charmed by Appleton’s persona after meeting him online, but his violent side soon surfaced and he subjected her to a string of sexual assaults.
After they split he strangled her and set on fire in Salford in February 2009. When he went on the run he was quickly dubbed the ‘Facebook Fugitive’.
Six days after Ms Wood’s body was found, Appleton was discovered hanged in a derelict pub.
Ms Wood had first called police in October 2008 after he damaged her front door, threatened her with an iron and threatened to kill her.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission later ruled she had been badly let down by police.
Last night, sources close to the Home Secretary said: ‘We’re looking into this although no final decision has yet been made.’
Sarah’s Law was rolled out last year to give parents the legal right to know if anyone with regular access to children posed a risk. It followed the murder of Sarah Payne by paedophile Roy Whiting in 2000.
This is yet another example of a strong, well-funded lobby group obtaining special treatment for its cause at the expense of the rest of the population. The type of feminists who detest all men are ramming through laws which are hugely unfair to the majority of males in this country. Before MP's approve such biased legislation, they should check the actual police statistics. Incidents of husbands being attacked by their wives have been rising for years and there is now very little difference in the totals. The police also believe that men are often too embarrassed to come forward and admit that they have been beaten up by an (allegedly) weaker woman. This means there are probably more domestic assaults by women on men than are reported. The police themselves are at last dropping their sexist language and are talking about "victims of either sex". It's about time the Government made their decisions on facts instead of being brainwashed by feminist propaganda.
- Alan Blundells, London UK, 17/7/2011 13:08
Click to rate Rating 62
Some of the comments here regarding men needing safety from women online are making me laugh- missy, uk, 17/7/2011 10:05------------------------- Online or offline, not much difference in the two, People like you often think its male that only do bad things like this, for one there are more men than women which will give a higher figure naturally + the male in most cases is the more stronger of the the 2 so is able to defend better than a female, women do rape and murder males, The Tracey Andrews Story for one pops to mind, take a look before you spread your ignorance.
- A. Theist, Arknsaw, 17/7/2011 13:07
Click to rate Rating 41
I hope men will get the same rights... there are some crazy violent women out there as well!
- fraser, london, 17/7/2011 13:05
Click to rate Rating 71
Yet another example of polititians saying things before they think, At what point can a woman approach the Police and demand a full history of men they have met either on line or else where. Is there to be a domestic violence register ? Perhaps in an ideal world there should be, but administering such a thing would be very expensive and not very effective. May be we should go further and allow a full break down of some ones past, that way we know whether to hide our wallets etc. Personally i think the vast majority of women are able to go with their instincts on whether a man is right for them or not, Of course there will always be exceptions to the rule so far better to put extra resorces into helping women get out of abusive relationships rather than gimmiks like this.
- peter, worcestershire, 17/7/2011 13:04
Click to rate Rating 28
This is just another nail for the men haters. People with common sense know when they date strangers you always keep yourself safe. Dating and having a relationship is about getting to know your partner. Previous relationships have nothing to do with your new relationship. Girls just have to accept they were not the right one for that person, and move on. Many girls hate to accept they have faults, and prefer to make accusations instead. So glad I grew up in the days where you could date without fear, get a job without all sorts of tests, and had more of a private life. Now it's just a joke. If I ever go on a future date. I'd need a CV with references CRB checks. If I was asked for that, I'd make an excuse to go and leave her with the bill to pay.
- Scott, Glasgow, 17/7/2011 13:00
Click to rate Rating 25