No hiding place for a history of violence

THE sister of a murder victim killed by her ex-partner has welcomed new legislation to help victims of domestic violence.

Under Clare’s Law, people in Greater Manchester will be able to make enquiries about an individual who they are in a relationship with, or who is in a relationship with someone they know, and find out if they have a violent or abusive past.

It has been launched after Clare Wood was strangled and set on fire by ex-boyfriend George Appleton at her home in Salford in 2009.

Appleton, dubbed the “Facebook Fugitive”, then went on the run before hanging himself.

Katie Summers, from Farnworth, was murdered by her ex-partner, Brian Taylor, in 2008 after suffering years of abuse.

Her sister, Sarah, said: “I welcome this new law. It is important because it is another step forward for domestic violence and stalking being addressed.

“Far too many people are suffering from it and people think it is a joke and it is not. People are finally understanding the seriousness of it.”

Under the new scheme, if police checks show a person may be at risk of domestic abuse from their partner, the police will consider disclosing the information.

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Heywood said: “This pilot is about prevention and exploring new ways of protecting victims of domestic abuse. It helps individuals make an informed decision on whether or not to continue a relationship.

“It will enable police to act in the best interests of those people who believe they are at risk of violence by sharing information of a partner’s violent past.”

Greater Manchester Police is joining police forces in Gwent, Wiltshire and Nottingham in the pilot, which will end in September, 2013.

Clare’s father, Michael Brown, said: “The coroner in Bolton, Jennifer Leeming, was the one who started the ball rolling and pointed me in the right direction.

“I hope others do not have to go through what we have gone through.

“I think this will help. Even if it saves one life it will be worth my last year of championing it.”

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