A PILOT scheme allowing people to find out whether their partner has a history of domestic violence, known as Clare's Law, has been launched.
The Disclosure Scheme for Domestic Abuse Scotland is being piloted in Ayrshire and Aberdeen. It will run for six months.
It comes after a similar programme was introduced in England and Wales following the murder of Clare Wood by her ex-boyfriend in Salford in 2009. She was unaware of his history of violence against women.
Loading article content
If successful in Ayrshire and Aberdeen, it could be extended across Scotland.
Ms Wood's father, Michael Brown, who is originally from Aberdeen, welcomed the introduction of the pilot.
He said: "It is not acceptable that domestic abuse exists in this day and age and the sooner people are helped to get out of that environment the better. It not only affects the person who is being abused but their wider network, including their parents, any children they have, and friends.
"It is a parent's job to look after their children and although it was not my fault what happened, in some way I still feel responsible.
"If Clare had known George Appleton's background she almost certainly wouldn't have become involved with him and if I had the knowledge I have now perhaps something could have been done and Clare would still be here today. This scheme is another way to help people and I can only see it as a good thing. If it prevents just one child from growing up without a mother or a father, it will be worth its weight in gold."
The scheme has been developed with the Scottish Government, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, Scottish Women's Aid and Assist advocacy services. Disclosures through the scheme can be triggered by victims themselves, family members or another member of the public concerned about the victim, or public authorities such as the police or social workers.
Mr Brown said that often people who are suffering from domestic abuse find it difficult to seek support.
He said: "Abusive relationships are very damaging; the victim is often manipulated and made to feel unworthy. People can feel very isolated, trapped and with no one to turn to. I believe this scheme will offer another way for those who feel imprisoned to reach out and get the support they need. There is still a long way to go but it is showing that there is help out there."
Superintendent Neil Kerr said: "Many people recognise the signs of abuse in their partner before it actually starts, such as jealousy or controlling behaviour. Applying [for information] through this scheme will ultimately assist those who are worried about their partner's behaviour to make a more informed decision about whether to remain in the relationship."
Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: "Today's announcement is another tool justice agencies can use in their work to tackle this unacceptable behaviour.
"It is important the practical implementation of the Disclosure Scheme for Domestic Abuse in Scotland, or Clare's Law, is tested to ensure that it is suitable for Scotland's unique justice system. That's why I am keen to see how it works in the two pilot areas and will continue to work with Police Scotland to look at new ways of protecting the public which will deliver benefits for the wider community."