Just last week I wrote about a proposed bill in New Hampshire that would require police to witness violence firsthand before making an arrest.
At the same time in the UK a new law being considered by the home secretary would help protect women from starting a relationship with a serial domestic abuser.
The law, titled “Clare’s law” in honor of Clare Wood who met her murderer on an internet website, would let police warn women if a new partner has a violent past. The recent launch of a national police database as well as the popularity of online dating spurred the idea. The goal of the law is to prevent murders like Wood’s and reduce the number of deaths at the hands of domestic violence.
And that’s not all the government is doing to help protect victims of domestic abuse.
According to a statement made by the Home Office, “Clare’s death was a tragic incident and it’s important that lessons are learned. We are committed to doing all we can to protect victims of domestic violence including funding a network of independent domestic violence advisers and a national helpline for victims.”
At the end of June the Home office also launched domestic violence protection orders in three pilot areas to empower police from prohibiting offenders from contacting victims or returning to their home for up to 28 days.
A Widespread Problem
The problem of domestic violence in the UK cannot be overlooked. That a look at these chilling statistics:
- Approximately 25,000 serial domestic abusers are at large
- Two women are killed every week by a partner or former partner
- 4-10 people a week commit suicide as a result of domestic abuse
- 1 in 4 women experience domestic abuse in their lifetime
Perhaps it is a little naďve but I never considered the fact that domestic abusers might use online dating sites to prey on women, but think about how easy it could be. You create a profile that paints the portrait of an upstanding, respectful person and the door opens to hundreds of potential matches – all who are now unknowingly potential victims.
People on dating sites might lie about their age or natural hair color or some other small detail about their lives, but lying about a history of violence is frightening, not to mention despicable. Abusers don’t advertise their violent past, but their future partners deserve to know what they are getting into. If Clare’s law passes and police are able to warn women of a prospective partner’s violent past, they could save many lives.
What do you think? Is Clare’s law a good idea?
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Photo credit: Prashanthns, via wikimedia commons