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International: Chinese city launches version of Clare’s Law

The eastern China city of Yiwu has set up a system enabling people to check before marriage if their intended spouse has a known history of domestic abuse.

Believed to be the first service of its kind in China, a database contains information about individuals from across the country who have been convicted, issued with restraining orders which bar them from going near ex-partners, or imprisoned due to domestic abuse since 2017.
“In many cases, the parties involved only know about domestic violence after marriage,” Zhou Danying, vice-chair of Yiwu Women’s Federation, one of the government institutions behind the scheme, was quoted as saying in local media. “By establishing an enquiry database, partners can know beforehand and consider whether to marry.”

China recorded a threefold increase in cases of domestic abuse reported to police in February during the coronavirus lockdown compared with the year before.

Strict rules accompany use of the new database. Individuals using it have to hand over their application to the marriage registry office, their own and their intended partner’s ID, and sign a confidentiality contract.

In the UK the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS), known as Clare’s Law after Clare Wood who was murdered in 2009 by her ex-boyfriend, enables people to apply to the police to find out if their partner has a history of violence against women.



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