Checking for a person's history of abuse
If you’re worried that your partner, ex-partner or the partner of someone you know has a history of violence and abuse, you can ask the police to check for you using the Domestic Violence and Abuse Disclosure Scheme.
What is DVADS
The Domestic Violence and Abuse Disclosure Scheme (DVADS) gives you the right to ask the police if your partner, ex-partner or someone else’s partner has been abusive in the past.
Knowing a person’s history of abuse can help you decide if you want to stay in your relationship, leave, return, or make a plan to keep yourself safer.
You must be aged 16 or over to use DVADS and the person at risk must live in Northern Ireland.
How to ask police for information
To ask for a person’s history of abuse, you will need to fill in an application form. You can also phone the police on 101 or go to a police station for help to complete the form.
After you apply
When police get the application form, they will let you know by using a safe method of contact which is given on the form. They will then make their checks. They may sometimes contact other safeguarding agencies.
Police will then contact you to get more information by a face-to-face meeting, phone or virtually. You will be asked to show photographic ID.
Police will then consider all the information they have before they decide if they need to tell you a person’s history of abuse or violence. If you have asked for information because you are worried about someone else's partner, it will usually be the person at risk who will be told about their partner's history.
All information police tell you is confidential. Whoever receives information about a person’s history of abuse or violence will be asked to sign an agreement that they will not share the information with anyone else, without agreement from the police.
You can contact PSNI on non-emergency number 101.
In an emergency always call 999.
If you would like information about domestic violence and abuse, you can get free, confidential advice and support from a number of support groups or you can call the Domestic and Sexual abuse helpline.
Schemes in Scotland, England or Wales
If the person who may be at risk lives in Scotland, to find out more about Police Scotland’s scheme, go to Disclosure Scheme for Domestic Abuse Scotland - Police Scotland.
If the person at risk lives in England or Wales, visit the website of their local police service or contact the service by using the ‘101’ system for guidance on how to apply.