Nearly 1600 people have been informed about their partner’s abusive past in the three years since Police Scotland introduced the Disclosure Scheme for Domestic Abuse in Scotland (DSDAS).
Year on year the number of requests for disclosure has continued to increase, with more than 3,500 requests for disclosure made since 1 October 2015. In the year to date, more than 1360 referrals have been received.
Applications from individuals using their ‘Right to Ask’ have increased by almost 40 per cent in the last 12 months.
Assistant Chief Constable Gillian MacDonald, strategic lead for Crime and Protection, said, “Domestic abuse affects all of Scotland’s communities. It is a despicable and debilitating crime and DSDAS gives us the chance to prevent abuse before it occurs.
"The scheme provides an incredibly important opportunity for people who have concerns about a new partner’s abusive past to seek information from the police to help ensure their own safety.
“However, this scheme is also open to those with concerns about another person’s partner – this could be a friend, a family member or a support worker. This is crucial as the complexities of controlling and coercive behaviours often mean the people themselves may not recognise the development of abuse or don’t feel able or ready to make an application themselves.
"The disclosure scheme is about empowering people who have concerns with the right to ask about the background of their partner. We will always proactively investigate domestic abuse but this scheme is an opportunity to prevent abuse, to stop people becoming victims and to halt the trauma caused by abusers.
"If you are worried that your partner might have an abusive past, or you are worried about someone else then DSDAS could provide information that can help that person make a positive choice to protect themselves and their future.”
Police Scotland works closely with a number of independent domestic abuse advocacy and support services across Scotland. These partners also work to protect those who might experience or are experiencing domestic abuse.