Clare’s Law is named after Clare Wood, 36, who was strangled and set on fire by her ex-boyfriend George Appleton at her home in Salford, Greater Manchester in 2009.
The law, being trialed within the U.K essentially allows men and women to check on their new partners history of violence, thereby giving then a chance of avoiding involvement in a violent or abusive relationship. On the face of it seems to be an admirable scheme, despite it’s potential limitations, but despite the fact that such a law is based on a truly noble set of aspirations, it worries me as, at a deeper level it potentially opens a huge can of worms
Let me begin on a positive note though. I believe that violence between any individuals in a relationship is regrettable, and that if a good, practical law can be formulated to minimise or negate such violence, then such a law should be universally applied.
- It achieves nothing, as it causes harm to both the aggressor and the victim.
- It is destructive by nature,
- and it often causes irreparable harm
In light of this why have doubts about Sarah’s law? After all it
- Allows an individual to check on any history of violence of a new partner
- In association with Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPOs) it allows for a 28 day safety net should violence occurs
- It raises the profile of domestic abuse within relationships thereby raising the chance of such issues being solved
All this is true, but now look at the list below
- Domestic violence campaign groups like REFUGE state that it will do little to help victims
- Many cases remain unreported
- Although the law clearly sates it is for both men and women who are in abusive relationships, the mans voice is rarely heard
- when an application is made as regards disclosure will all those who decide upon such a disclosure be fully qualified ir trained so as to properly execute such a task
- If non physical abuse occurs what information can be recorded and subsequently disclosed
- Although domestic violence can arise out of simple circumstances, it is often a result of much deeper problems, some of them potentially shared
- Can any of us truly state that we would not prejudge an individual should evidence of abuse occurs
- If such a prejudgment were to occur, how many of us have the knowledge of such an area to stand back and come to a truly balanced judgement
We can pretend that the world is in painted in prime colors, we can pretend that men are the prime perpetrators, and that we have quick and easy solutions, and that we, as a community, can be trusted with such disclosures, but to do is to act and think as if we were a child.
That wouldn’t be problem if we were children, but a legislators and participating adults with multicultural communities, is it not incumbent on on us to evaluate such problems in a more adult and rational way. As regards points 3-6 I would also ask the following questions,
If we, as individuals, heard of a case of domestic violence incident would we
- Think a man was the perpetrator
- It it was woman, would we think the man to be weak or foolish
- take time to fully assess the root causes of the incident in question
- avoid making a snap decision
- manage to ignore common perceptions within society about what should be “done”
- Recognise that abuse might be mental rather than physical
- Recognise that both parties might be partially responsible for such incidences
- Accept the fact that, despite all appearances, a reported case might not be as simple as it seems
I suspect that we would all like to think that we could pass such questions with honours, but I wonder whether this is true.
As regards the law itself, my views are very straightforward.
I think it is step in the right direction, but I don’t think it is a universal cure. I would love to think that we, individually or communally, can be trusted to administer such a law fairly and judiciously, but I don’t think such justice will occur.
Therefore, with much regret, I have to come out on the side of the opposition. It gives me no pleasure to do so, and I abhor any kind of violence, but I question our ability to genuinely administer such a law. Hopefully, and I do mean hopefully, I will be proved wrong.
In the mean time, in recognition of the appalling damage caused by such violence I will leave you with the two video’s below