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Clare's law: Home Secretary announced changes to domestic violence and sex offender laws

The Home Secretary Theresa May has announced that the Government will delay the roll-out of Clare's Law, contrary to reports that it could be implemented in 2012.

May announced to MPs yesterday that a consultation on the new law has raised fears that it could be abused by people to 'spy' on others.

The new law will allow women the opportunity to request information from the police relating to the domestic violence past of their partners.

The law was dubbed Clare's Law, after Clare Wood, who was murdered by her former partner, George Appleton, in 2009. Mr Appleton had three previous convictions under the Protection of Harassment Act 1997. He was later found hanged.

May announced that a 12-month pilot will run in four police-force areas, Manchester, Gwent, Nottinghamshire and Wiltshire.

"The consultation raised important issues on the scope and proportionality of the information that should be disclosed to potential victims and the safeguards that are needed against malicious applications," May said in a written statement to the Commons.

The scheme as announced does not require new legal powers and would involve the disclosure of convictions for domestic violence as well as disclosure of intelligence which can include reports of incidents which may not have been proven.

The Home Secretary also announced yesterday that she will close loopholes in the sex offenders' register after a High Court ruling gave a right of appeal after fifteen years to those who have been placed on the register for life.

Changes to the rules will mean that all 44,000 individuals registered will have to notify the police if they travel abroad for more than three days, as well as those who live in households with children under 18. The rules will also be amended so that anyone who changes their name will no longer be able to avoid being kept on the register.

Related links:

Read more on the story (The Guardian)

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