The home secretary has announced that police forces in Greater Manchester, Gwent, Nottinghamshire and Wiltshire are to pilot a new domestic violence disclosure scheme (DVDS).
The DVDS trial will begin in the summer and run for twelve months. It follows a successful public consultation which received more than 250 responses from a wide range of high profile statutory and voluntary organisations.
The pilot scheme will test the methods used by police to help victims or potential victims of domestic violence by disclosing information about previous violent offending by their partner.
The pilot scheme is based on two options:
- 'right to ask' - this enables a person to ask the police about a person’s previous history of domestic violence or violent acts. A precedent for such a scheme exists with the child sex offender disclosure scheme;
- 'right to know' - police can proactively disclose information in prescribed circumstances.
ACPO lead on domestic abuse chief constable Carmel Napier said:
'A national review of serial perpetrators of domestic abuse estimated that around 25,000 offenders of domestic violence had abused two or more different victims with violence or threats of violence in a three year period. Of those 2,500 had abused three or more victims and one force had an offender who had committed violence against eight different victims.
'If we hold this information and determine there is a risk of harm then we have a duty of care to disclose and inform to stop women from being victims in the first place.'