A father from Yorkshire whose daughter was murdered by an ex-boyfriend with a secret violent past today said he was "absolutely delighted" women across the country have today been given the "right to know" their partner's history.
The scheme, known as Clare's Law is named after Clare Wood, 36, who was strangled and set on fire by her ex-boyfriend George Appleton at her home in Salford, Greater Manchester.
Clare's Law gives women for the first time the right to know if a partner has a history of domestic violence and is being rolled out to police forces across England and Wales following a successful pilot scheme.
Clare Wood's father, Michael Brown, a retired prison officer from Batley, West Yorkshire, who spearheaded the "right to know" campaign after his daughter's murder in 2009, said today:
Mr Brown, along with Salford MP Hazel Blears lobbied Home Secretary Theresa May to bring in the scheme.
Mr Brown, originally from Aberdeen, said:
The initiative, officially called the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, is designed to provide victims with information that may protect them from a potentially abusive situation.
Following a request, the scheme allows the police to disclose information about a partner's previous history of domestic violence or violent acts.
Miss Wood, a mother-of-one, had met Appleton on Facebook, unaware of his horrific history of violence against women, including repeated harassment, threats and the kidnapping at knifepoint of one of his ex-girlfriends.
He went on the run after killing his ex-girlfriend and was dubbed the "Facebook Fugitive" before hanging himself while still at large.
Mr Brown added:
Today's national roll-out has been chosen by the Home Secretary to coincide with International Women's Day and follows a 14-month pilot scheme in four police force areas, which provided more than 100 people with potentially life-saving information.
Today also marks the national launch of Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPOs). This new power will enable police and magistrates' courts to provide protection to victims in the immediate aftermath of a domestic violence incident.
Mrs May said:
DVPOs can be used to provide immediate protection to a victim where there is not enough evidence to charge an alleged perpetrator and provide protection to victims via bail conditions.
They can last for up to 28 days, during which time the perpetrator can be prevented from having contact with the victim, giving them the opportunity to make decisions about their future safety with the help of a support agency.