People in NSW could soon be able to find out if their partner has an abusive past

The NSW Government is set to launch the 'Right to Ask' scheme that allows people to access police records about their partner's past, modelled after UK's Clare's Law.
People in NSW could soon be able to find out if their partner has an abusive past

The NSW Government has announced plans to launch a program that allows people to find out if their partner has a history of domestic violence.


Called the ‘Right to Ask’ scheme, the program is modelled on a law in the United Kingdom that allows a person who is concerned about their safety to access police records regarding their partner’s past.

The context 

The NSW Government announced its plans to create the scheme today.


It isn’t operational yet, and still needs to undergo several steps, such as consultation with domestic violence organisations, before it’s launched.


NSW Deputy Premier and Police Minister Paul Toole said the program would allow people to go into relationships “with their eyes wide open”.

How would it work? 

The Government said information provided to a concerned partner would need police approval before it’s released. It also said that privacy measures to regulate “malicious applications” would be in place.


Once operational, requests for access to this information can be made online or on a phone call. It will be rolled out in multiple languages.


The scheme will be reviewed 12 months after it begins operation.

Overseas precedent

The program in the UK, known as Clare’s Law, allows anyone aged 16 or older to ask police about potential abusive pasts of a partner or ex-partner.


This can be for an applicant’s own partner, or that of a friend, neighbour, or family member.

NSW election.


The announcement comes ahead of a state election in March, which will decide who can form the next Government in NSW.


NSW Shadow Police Minister Paul Scully told TDA that the Government’s proposed scheme “seems like a common sense initiative to help prevent the scourge of violence against women”.

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