A CAMPAIGN has been launched to help combat domestic abuse in Tenbury and the Teme Valley.

The period around Christmas can be one of the most stressful parts of the year for relationships.

Worcestershire Forum against Domestic Abuse together with West Mercia Police has launched a campaign called “Worried” to raise awareness of the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (Clare’s Law).

This new campaign is part of the International 16 days of action (White Ribbon campaign). The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, is also known as Clare’s Law after the tragic murder of Clare Wood who was murdered in February 2009 by a man she had met on an internet dating site who had a history of violence. Clare was unaware of his violent background.

Clare’s Law aims to prevent domestic abuse by empowering and enabling both men and women with the right to ask the police about the background of their new partner.

It also allows concerned members of the public, such as relatives and friends, to make enquiries about someone’s partner if they are concerned that person has been abusive in the past.

The scheme was launched in West Mercia policing areas in March 2014 and over the last two years 170 people in Worcestershire have used their ‘Right to Ask’ the police whether a new or existing partner (either their own or a friend or relative’s) may have a violent past, with 128 disclosure being made.

It creates a formal mechanism for police to tell both men and women, who are potentially at risk of abuse from their partner, about that partner’s past with the knowledge that the police hold. This is known as ‘Right to Ask’.

The scheme aims to enable potential victims to make an informed choice on whether to continue the relationship and provides further help and support to assist the potential victim when making that choice.

“Tackling abuse and preventing people from becoming victims is a priority for the County Council and this scheme lies at the heart of our approach,” said John Smith, the member of Worcestershire County Council with cabinet responsibility for health and wellbeing.

“It empowers people to make informed decisions and we continue to support victims through the specialist services that we commission across the county”.

Martin Lakeman, Domestic Abuse Coordinator for Worcestershire said that domestic abusers are often cunning, charming and deceitful.

“If you are at all concerned about the behaviour of someone you are in a relationship with, please submit a disclosure request. Similarly if you’re concerned for a son, daughter, friend, colleague or neighbour, speak out – you could save their life.”

“Everyone has a responsibility to promote this scheme, it’s vital those professionals such as doctors and social workers signpost people to this fantastic scheme. Raising awareness of domestic abuse is everyone’s business.”