What You Need to Know about DBS Checks on your Family or Partner

Since its creation in 2012, the Disclosure and Barring Service has offered BasicStandard and Enhanced DBS checks (formerly CRB checks) to employers across the UK. Requesting one of these three types of disclosure checks helps protect vulnerable adults and children whilst enforcing safety in the workplace by excluding anyone barred from working with these groups.

The popularity of this system leads many to request the DBS check process for more personal reasons, such as to resolve any concerns you may have about a partner or the criminal past of a family member. However, it’s only possible to apply for a DBS check online for work-related reasons. If you’re wondering why that is and what other options exist for someone looking to request a criminal records check, continue reading this blog post.

How to Request Checks for Personal Contacts

If you have any concerns about the safety of a loved one, you can check the criminal history of any of the following:

  • Your partner or the partner of someone in your family;
  • A family member;
  • Or someone who comes into contact with your child or children.

The particular options available to you depend on the specifics of your request, which you can learn more about below.

However, that doesn’t mean your new employer will be happy for you to begin working without a valid DBS certificate. Anyone hiring for sensitive roles can stop you from beginning work, to ensure that vulnerable groups aren’t put at risk by someone who hasn’t provided a valid DBS certificate.

The specifics of whether you might be able to start work without completing a DBS check already depends on which type you require.

Clare’s Law

The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme is a piece of legislation introduced in 2014 that is regularly referred to as Clare’s Law, the name of which is in memory of Clare Wood, who was murdered by her violent partner in 2009. Clare’s family campaigned for the right for partners, friends and relatives to be able to ask police whether someone has past convictions for violent crimes.

The method of ordering checks through the usage of Clare’s Law is as follows:

  1. Contact the police, explain the situation and give basic details such as your name and date of birth.
  2. Make an appointment to go to the police station to discuss your request and concerns further.
  3. Prove who you are by showing the police identity documents such as a passport.
  4. Wait for the police to search their records and report back to you. They have a maximum of 35 days to do so, after which they will try to take action to make the relevant parties safe as soon as possible.

Requesting police information by citing Clare’s Law will only give you access to information about violent and domestic crimes, so other types of crime such as theft or fraud won’t be disclosed.

In certain situations, police may reveal further information held on record if they deem it relevant, even if the case didn’t lead to a conviction.

The police may also involve other agencies such as social services if required. If you have serious concerns about a partner, the police and other relevant agencies will try to help you get out of the relationship and stay safe.

Sarah’s Law

The name for this piece of legislation is dedicated to Sarah Payne, who was murdered in 1995. Sarah’s Law allows parents, carers or guardians to request criminal record checks on anyone with access to a child under their care.

Police will only release information once they’ve deemed that it’s in the child’s best interest, and the report will only detail any child sexual offences. Any disclosures made as part of Sarah’s law are confidential, so applicants must agree to keep any information they receive private.

 When is a DBS Check Required?

Both Clare’s Law and Sarah’s Law are excellent ways for individuals to ensure that anyone who could pose a risk to a potential victim can be avoided. Any further information that isn’t provided by these laws can only be supplied by the Disclosure and Barring Service, which individuals are restricted from contacting for reasons that aren’t work-related.

Instead, if you require a DBS check for work-related reasons, you can request a Basic DBS check for yourself. Employers can request an Enhanced or Standard DBS check on their employees’ behalf, including a Barred List check if relevant.

Will My Partner's Criminal Record Appear on a DBS Check?

If you’re living with your partner and are asked to request a DBS check for yourself, the police may choose to disclose details of any convictions that your partner may have within your Enhanced DBS certificate. If this is a concern to you, you can try to stop this information from being disclosed by contacting your local police force.

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