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British women can check for partner's violent past

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Women in England and Wales will be able to check police records to see if their partner has a history of domestic violence, the government said on Monday.

The "Clare's Law" scheme -- named after 36-year-old Clare Wood who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in 2009 -- is expected to come into force in March following a year-long pilot in several parts of Britain.

Wood, a mother-of-one, had met George Appleton on Facebook and was unaware of his history of violence against women, including the kidnapping of another girlfriend at knifepoint.

He strangled Wood and set her body on fire before hanging himself.

Home Secretary Theresa May said 88 British women had been killed by a violent partner or ex-partner last year, and that there was "considerable confusion" about whether police could share information on someone's violent past with the public.

"Domestic abuse shatters lives -- Clare's Law provides people with the information they need to escape an abusive situation before it ends in tragedy," she told The Sun newspaper.

"The national scheme will ensure that more people can make informed decisions about their relationship and escape if necessary.

"This is an important step towards ensuring we do better by women like Clare Wood in the future."

Some 400 women applied for information about their partners or ex-partners under the pilot scheme, with police providing details in around 100 of these cases, the Home Office, or interior ministry said.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/131125/british-women-can-check-partners-violent-past