If I suspect domestic abuse is happening to someone, what should I do?

We are asked this question frequently by people who are worried that a friend or family member has entered a relationship that is or is becoming abusive.

It’s important to remain unjudgemental and to recognise that there are many reasons that prevent women from accepting help or even being willing to have a conversation about your concerns. Knowing that you are there if needed is the most important thing you can do. When a woman who is experiencing abuse is ready to seek help, knowing that there are people they can go to could save their life.

Do not attempt to confront the abuser or try to convince a person who is experiencing abuse to leave.

Clare’s Law: Domestic Abuse Disclosure Scheme 

graphic of cherry blossoms stating clare's law the domestic abuse disclosure scheme

A young woman by the name of Clare Wood, was murdered by her partner in 2009. Her partner had a recorded history of violence towards women.

After her death, Clare’s family campaigned for a new law to allow people to find out if a new partner has a history of abuse. They believed that if they had known about the partner’s history of violence then they could have prevented Clare’s death.

If you are concerned about someone who may be a victim of domestic violence, you can ask for a disclosure from the police, citing Clare’s law. Or you can encourage the victim to do so.

It will then lie with the police as to who they give any information to.

If there is any information to be released about the alleged perpetrator then well-informed decisions can take place regarding the alleged victim’s safety.

The police categorically state that disclosure under Clare’s law is not a guarantee of safety,  since not all men with a history of violence are known to the police but the way that it exists and its use, will potentially protect from possible abuse.

If you wish to utilise Clare’s Law then:

  1. Contact the police, via email publicservicecentre@south-wales.pnn.police.uk or by dialling 101, or by calling into a police station.
  2. Understand fully, why you are asking for the law to be enabled and make a detailed list of your concerns
  3. You will have to give your name, date of Birth and address.
  4. You will need to provide ID
  5. Be aware that if you disclose that mental or physical harm has already taken place, the police may decide to arrest the perpetrator under criminal law, if they deem that a crime has taken place.

The police will then conduct a series of meetings with organisations involved who may hold records about the perpetrator. They will also discuss and decide whether there is relevant information to disclose and if so they will also be discussing a safety plan for the victim. This can take some time.

If the police decide to share information with you about the situation, then this information must be treated as confidential. If you break the confidentiality, then you need to be aware that you could face criminal proceedings.

This is entirely accessible by anyone, and you have nothing to fear by requesting this enablement.


Don’t be a bystander

Welsh Government provides resources through the don’t be a bystander campaign to support individuals who are concerned that someone may be experiencing abuse.