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Reflections on the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (England and Wales)

Duggan, Marian (2019) Reflections on the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (England and Wales). Journal of Gender Based Violence, 3 (2). pp. 249-257. ISSN 2398-6808. (doi:10.1332/239868019X15538584809332) (KAR id:72651)


The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS) aims to reduce harm through improving access to background information for people with concerns about a romantic partner’s behaviour. This reduction is predicated on the disclosure recipient taking steps to ensure their safety, either by managing the situation or ending the relationship. As fewer than half of the thousands of annual applications result in disclosures, and no information is held about any subsequent steps taken by applicants or recipients, it is unclear whether or not the DVDS is actually reducing domestic violence. Nonetheless, Scotland and Northern Ireland have implemented their own variations of this policy, as have some Canadian and Australian states.

This policy analysis draws on empirical research into the DVDS in terms of its national and local operation in order to assess the strengths and limitations of its capacity to reduce harm. The analysis outlines how the policy may be difficult to access; deflect – rather than prevent – harm; shift safeguarding responsibilities onto the most vulnerable; and be incorrectly interpreted in terms of outcome. The paper makes recommendations for improvement in order to enhance the policy’s efficacy.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1332/239868019X15538584809332
Projects: Evaluating Risk and Responsibility in the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme
Additional information: "This is a post-peer-review, pre-copy edited version of an extract in Journal of Gender Based Violence/Bristol University Press. Details of the definitive published version and how to purchase it are available online at:;jsessionid=3o9arpwct1u32.x-ic-live-02
Uncontrolled keywords: Domestic Violence; Prevention Policies; Victims; Clare’s Law
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
K Law > KD England and Wales
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Funders: [37325] UNSPECIFIED
Depositing User: Marian Duggan
Date Deposited: 20 Feb 2019 12:39 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2024 19:50 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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