From today (Thursday, October 1, 2015), people across Argyll and West Dunbartonshire will be able to apply to find out whether their partner has an abusive background.
The roll out of the Disclosure Scheme for Domestic Abuse (Scotland) (DSDAS) follows successful pilots in Ayrshire and Aberdeen.
Since the start of the scheme in November last year, 86 requests have been received for disclosure with 35 requests resulting in a disclosure being made. DSDAS has continued in Ayrshire and Aberdeen becoming business as usual in the divisions.
Announcing the roll out, Deputy Chief Constable Rose Fitzpatrick, said: “Domestic abuse affects all our communities. Our role is bringing offenders to justice and working with partners to ensure that victims are protected and receive the right support. Up to 25 per cent of police time is spent responding to domestic incidents with nearly 60,000 incidents recorded by Police Scotland officers last year.
“When people form new relationships, there can be concerns that the new partner may have an abusive past. This scheme gives people the opportunity to ask that question.
“During the pilot of the scheme, people who have received disclosures have been extremely positive about their experience. Make no mistake, it is difficult news to hear but it allows them to make an informed choice, to protect themselves and by extension their families and children from harm. In some cases, it can break that cycle of violence. A key element of the disclosure process has been ensuring appropriate support is available to people who may need it.
“We want to stop domestic abuse in all its forms and this scheme takes us closer to that aim. Help is also available for the abuser. They have the opportunity to take responsibility for their actions. If they don’t, we will. We will investigate all reports of domestic abuse and those responsible will face the consequences of their actions. Police Scotland, with its partners, will work to end domestic abuse in all of Scotland’s communities.”
Anyone concerned that their partner may have an abusive past can contact the police and request information on their partner’s background if they suspect them of a history of domestic abuse or violence.
Each case is considered by a multi agency panel to determine whether disclosure is lawful, necessary and proportionate to protect the individual from their partner.
Information can be disclosed in two ways:
Right to Ask - a person makes a direct application to Police Scotland for information about an individual. Any concerned third party, such as a parent, relative, neighbour or friend can also make an application on a person’s behalf.
Power to Tell - Police Scotland receive indirect information or intelligence about a person thought to be at risk and where, after appropriate checks were made, Police Scotland judged that a disclosure should be made to safeguard that person.