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Civil options and safeguarding tools (including DVPO, DVDS/Clare's Law)

Clare's Law - Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS) Clare's Law Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window
Clare's Law

What is the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme?

The aim of the scheme is to give you a formal mechanism to make enquiries about your partner if you are worried that they may have been abusive in the past.

If police checks show that your partner has a record of abusive behaviour, or there is other information to indicate that you may be at risk from your partner, the police will consider sharing this information with you. The police will disclose information only if it is lawful, necessary and proportionate to do so in the interests of protecting you or children from harm.

The scheme aims to help you to make a more informed decision on whether to continue a relationship and provides further help and support to assist you when making that choice.

Who can ask for a disclosure?

You can make an application about your partner. You do not have to have any specific reason or concerns but are just being careful.  Any concerned third party, such as your parent, neighbour or friend can also make an application if they are concerned about you. However, a third party person making an application would not necessarily receive information about your partner.  It may be more appropriate for someone else to receive the information, such as you, or a person that is in a position to protect you from the abuse.  Information will only be given to someone who is in a position to use the information to protect you from the abuse.

What happens if I make an application?

The police will take the details of what prompted your enquiry, your relationship to the subject of the application and your name, address and date of birth. The police will run some initial checks on the information you have provided and conduct an initial risk assessment. If you provide information which amounts to a crime then the police will investigate this in addition to considering your application.

No disclosure of information will take place at this stage unless it is necessary to provide immediate protection to you. If the police believe that you are at risk and in need of protection from harm, they will take immediate action. Most applications do not require immediate action and can take a number of weeks to reach a conclusion, but you will be kept informed as it progresses.

Your right to know

Under the Scheme, you may receive a disclosure even if you have not asked for one. This is because, if police receive information about your partner which they consider puts you at risk of harm, then they may consider disclosing that information to you or another person who they consider best placed to protect you.

The decision to disclose information when you have not asked for a disclosure will be made by a multi-agency meeting, and the disclosure will only be made if it is lawful and proportionate and there is a pressing need to make the disclosure to prevent further crime. The police and other relevant partner agencies will help you set up a safety plan tailored to your needs to provide you with help and support.

Important note

You should be aware that police checks or any disclosures made are not a guarantee of safety.  They will, however, make sure you are aware of what local and national support is available.   If you receive a disclosure, it should be treated as confidential. It is only being given to you so that you can take steps to protect yourself. You must not share this information with anyone else unless you have spoken to the police, or the person who gave you the information and they have agreed with you that it will be shared.

If you wish to make an application under the Scheme:

  • Visit a police station
  • Phone 101 - the non-emergency number for the police
  • Speak to a police officer

If you believe there is an immediate risk of harm to someone, or it is an emergency, you should always call 999.


Domestic Violence Protection Notice / Order (DVPN/O) Domestic Violence Disclosure Notice or Order Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window

Domestic Violence Protection Notices (DVPN) and Domestic Violence Protective Orders (DVPO) seek to protect victims and children by requiring the abuser to immediately leave the address when served notice by the police.

If someone breaches a DVPN or DVPO they may be arrested, kept in police custody and brought before a Magistrates' court. For more information, click the links in the downloads section on the right of this page.

Domestic Violence Protection Notices (DVPN) and Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPO) seek to protect victims and children by requiring the abuser to immediately leave the address when served notice by the police. They place prohibitions on the perpetrator, which if breached, results in arrest. They provide an opportunity for agencies to parachute intensive support to the victim and provides vital '#space to breathe' for victims to consider their options with appropriate support. These are preventative orders and can be obtained WITHOUT the support or consent of the victim. They seek to break the cycle of abuse and enable the police to take decision making out of the hands of the victim and re-enforce to the perpetrator that what they are doing is wrong.


What is a Domestic Violence Protection Notice (DVPN)?

A DVPN is a notice served by the police against a person who is aged over 18, where the police reasonably believe that he or she has been violent or has threatened violence against a victim and that they need to be protected from him/her. The notice can be served on a perpetrator when in custody, following an arrest, when there is insufficient evidence to charge, or used proactively before another offence is committed. The DVPN is in place for up to 48 hours and will contain prohibitions:

it will prohibit the perpetrator from molesting (i.e. harassing, threatening or interfering with, either directly or via a 3rd party) named individuals;

it may prohibit the perpetrator from returning to, entering, evicting from and being within a certain area around a specified address where the victim is residing.


What happens if the perpetrator breaches the DVPN?

They will be arrested, kept in police custody and brought before a Magistrates' court. That Magistrates' court will then hear the application for the order (DVPO).


What is a Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO)?

Within 48 hours of serving the notice, police will attend the Magistrates' court with the DVPN requesting that it is converted to an order (DVPO). The Court will grant the DVPO if it is:

satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the offender has been violent towards, or has threatened violence towards the victim; and

it thinks the DVPO is necessary to protect that person from violence or a threat of violence by the offender. The Order may contain the same or different prohibitions to the notice. The Order will last for between 14-28 days.


What happens if the perpetrator breaches the DVPO?

They will be arrested, kept in police custody and placed before a Magistrates' court within 24 hours. The court can impose a fine and/or imprisonment for each breach. It is the decision of the court whether a breach has occurred - not you, the police nor the victim.


What should I do if the perpetrator breaches the notice/order?

Police will proactively monitor the perpetrators complicity to the prohibitions of the Notice/Order and will notify partner agencies via our MASH/HAUs to ensure support is put in place for the victim survivor during those crucial few weeks.

We all have a role in enforcing and safeguarding victims of domestic abuse. If you are aware of a breach, however minor, then contact the police on 101 (999 in an emergency situation). The police will attend and arrest the perpetrator. It's vitally important that we enforce these orders for victims and hold perpetrators to account.


The National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV) National Centre for Domestic Violence

The National Centre for Domestic Violence assists survivors of domestic violence and abuse in obtaining protection against an abuser by providing free, fast and effective legal support. They can help you obtain injunctions such as Prohibited Steps Orders, Non-Molestation and Occupation Orders. For more information visit their website:

Domestic abuse - help available
Domestic abuse - help available

Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.


Childline helps anyone under 19 in the UK with trained counsellors. Childline is free, confidential and available any time, day or night.

National Centre for Domestic Violence

24 hour emergency service - free legal advice for help getting an injunction.

National Domestic Violence Helpline (24 hour)

Freephone 24 hour helpline run in partnership between Women's Aid and Refuge.


The LGBT+ anti-violence charity. Emotional and practical support for LGBT+ people experiencing domestic abuse.

West Mercia Women's Aid

Freephone 24 hour helpline

National Drugs Helpline

Friendly, confidential drugs advice.


Samaritans offer a safe place for you to talk any time you like, in your own way - about whatever's getting to you.


Shelter helps millions of people every year struggling with bad housing or homelessness through our advice, support and legal services.

Victim Support

If you've been affected by crime, Victim Support can give you the support you need to move forward. Their services are free, confidential and available to anyone in England and Wales, regardless of whether the crime has been reported or how long ago it happened.