Clare’s Law & protections from family violence in the UK

EXTRACT FROM PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES HANSARD

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

MEMBERS STATEMENTS

Family violence

 Mr WELLS (Rowville) — This statement implores the Andrews government to keep an open mind and not totally dismiss the concept of introducing to Victoria a family violence information disclosure scheme or a perpetrator’s register modelled on Clare’s law in the UK despite the family violence royal commission’s report not supporting such a scheme at this time.

I do so on the basis of a visit to the UK last year, during which I had briefings from UK police, government officials and family violence experts and was provided with details and specific case examples to demonstrate the important benefits of Clare’s law. All were in total agreement that the scheme was a significant and practical way for police to assist in reducing domestic violence.

The UK experience highlights that more people are entering relationships with absolutely no knowledge of their partner’s history. The UK scheme was launched in 2014 after a 14‑month pilot, and as at January 2015 there had been more than 3760 applications under the law in less than a year of operation, which resulted in 1335 disclosures. I also note the Victoria Police support for a perpetrator’s register in its submission and as acknowledged by the royal commission. As the royal commission’s report acknowledges, New South Wales has commenced a trial of a family violence disclosure scheme and New Zealand introduced its police family violence information disclosure scheme in December last year. I call on the Andrews government to closely monitor the New South Wales trial and that of the New Zealand scheme over the next year with a view to introducing a scheme, or at least a Victorian trial, based on Clare’s law by 2018.