This gives members of the public a 'Right to Ask', a formal mechanism to make enquiries about an individual who they are in a relationship with, or who is in a relationship with someone they know, where there is a concern that the individual may be violent or abusive towards their partner.

The concerned relative or friend will not, under normal circumstances, receive any information on the person causing concern. If a disclosure is deemed necessary, lawful and proportionate, the person potentially at risk will receive the information or the person best placed to safeguard that individual (in exceptional circumstances only).

The scheme also creates a formal mechanism for the PSNI to tell both men and women, who are potentially at risk of abuse from their partner, about that partner’s past where a proactive decision is made to consider disclosing the information in order to protect a potential victim.

If Police checks show that the individual has a record of violent or abusive behaviour, or there is other information to indicate you, or the person you know may be at risk from their new partner, the Police will consider sharing this information with the person at risk.

The aim of this scheme is to increase public safety and afford victims of domestic abuse with better protection by enabling potential victims to make an informed choice on whether to continue the relationship. It also provides help and support to assist individuals when making that choice.

The 'Right to Ask' is the powerful message behind this scheme.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland is empowering both men and women who are potential victims of domestic abuse and / or their concerned friends and family, with the right to ask about the new partner.  In the past, it could have been difficult for someone entering a new relationship to find out or be aware if their new partner had prior convictions for violence or domestic abuse.

The police will make contact with the applicant to discuss their concerns and ask for more information as well as confirming their identity during a face to face meeting.

Who is the form for?

This form is for use for anyone who wants to apply to the scheme either for themselves or another person. It is for both members of the Public and other professionals. It is not for use by police officers under the 'Power To Tell' Scheme.

The application form is for the Northern Ireland Domestic Violence and Abuse Disclosure scheme only.

Complete a DVADS application

What if I live outside Northern Ireland?

If you live outside Northern Ireland and are worried about your new partner you should contact your local Police Service for information.

If you live in Scotland there is a very similar scheme called the ‘Disclosure Scheme for Domestic Abuse Scotland’.

If you live in England and Wales there is a very similar scheme called the ‘Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (also known as ‘Clare’s law’).

If you are a concerned relative or friend of someone who resides in Northern Ireland you can make an application to the ‘Domestic Violence and Abuse Disclosure Scheme’ in Northern Ireland.

How will your information be used? 

The personal information provided in this form will be used by Police to identify individuals at risk. We conduct checks of our own records and may also share the information with partner agencies as their information may assist us. If we believe a child is at risk, we will inform the relevant Social Services Trust.

What will happen once I submit this form?

Once you submit the form you will have formally applied to the Domestic Violence and Abuse Disclosure Scheme for Northern Ireland only. PSNI will process the application – including conducting checks and meeting with you, the applicant.

At the end of the process a decision will be made as to whether or not a disclosure will be made.

View the translated DVADS Information Leaflets in the following versions:

Further informaion is available using the following links:

Other policing powers and tools that can help safeguard victims and prevent perpetrating behaviours:

Violent Offence Prevention Orders (VOPOs) – A court can give an offender a VOPO to protect the public if there’s a risk the offender could cause serious violent harm. The order places restrictions on the offender's behaviour. A court can give a VOPO to adult and juvenile offenders. A VOPO can be made against someone who is convicted of a specified offence, found not guilty of specified offence by reason of insanity or found to be unfit to be tried.

Non Molestation Order (NMO) – if you are a victim of domestic abuse you can apply to the court for an NMO which is intended to protect a victim and relevant children from being harassed, pestered, intimidated or from any threat of such behaviour. An application can be made in an emergency capacity (ex parte) or where the offender is given notice of the hearing (inter parte). A victim may also qualify for an Occupation Order this order sets out the parameters / terms by which the offender will be restricted from entering or residing in the home and must leave the property upon service of the same on them.

MARAC – Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference – short focused meeting with the aim to increase safety for those who are experiencing or have been exposed to domestic abuse. Those who are referred to MARAC include those where there has been an escalation in offending behaviour, where there has been a referral on professional judgement or where they are deemed to be HIGH RISK due to their scoring on the Domestic Abuse, Stalking and Harassment risk assessment (DASH).

Questions and Answers

What can you do for me (as regards DVADS)?
  • We are able to provide some basic information about the scheme and how you can apply - through the police.
  • We can also direct you to additional support, should this be necessary.
What is DVADS?
  • This is a scheme to which someone can apply, in order to receive information on a partner’s abusive past.
  • The purpose of the scheme is to allow a person to make an informed choice about whether or not to stay in their relationship.
Who can apply to the scheme?
  • The scheme applies to anyone aged 16 and over (male or female) living in Northern Ireland.
  •  The scheme is open to potential victims or a third party who knows them and may have a concern for their safety, for example, a family member or friend.
How do I apply to the scheme?
  • An application form must be submitted to the police in the first instance. 
  • The form can be found on the nidirect website ( or the PSNI website ( 
  • The form should be completed online and submitted electronically to PSNI.
  •  You can also attend a Police station Enquiry office and either obtain a copy of the application form which you can complete and return to the enquiry office or if you prefer you can complete the application at the Police station and obtain assistance should you require this.
What if I have trouble making an application online?
  • If you have trouble accessing the form online, or completing it, you can visit your local police station or contact the police on 101. 
  • The person answering the call will be able to direct you to the unit within the police that manages the scheme, the Public Protection Branch.
  •  Alternatively, you can contact a relevant support organisation: Victim Support NI; Women’s Aid; the Men’s Advisory Project; or the Men’s Action Network, who will also be able to assist.
What happens next?
  • Police will make contact with the applicant (via the safe method of contact provided), within 3 days of the date the application is made.
  • A face-to-face meeting will then follow if required, where the applicant will be required to provide proof of identity and verify their relationship with the potential victim (for third party applications).


What will the scheme tell me?
  • Typically disclosure will be made to the potential victim, not a third party. 
  • You will be given relevant and appropriate information on your partner’s abusive past, which will allow you to make an informed decision about continuing with the relationship.
Will the scheme give me details of previous convictions or other victims?
  • No.  Where a disclosure is made you will be advised that there is a risk of domestic violence and abuse, so you can make an informed choice about the relationship.
  • Detailed information will not typically be provided on the offending behaviour.
How will I be told?

Any disclosure, where there is information found, will be made face-to-face with the person at risk (or the person best placed to protect them).  This will be carried out by police and could involve another safeguarding agency (such as PBNI).  A support worker can also attend this disclosure meeting, should the person wish.

What if there isn’t any information found?

Where, after appropriate checks are made by PSNI, there isn’t any information found, PSNI will contact the applicant via the safe method of contact (which will have been provided during the application), to let them know the outcome of their findings.

How long will I have to wait for the information?

The total timescale for a disclosure to be made (from the time an application is received) is 45 days.  This can vary, however, according to the case.  That said, where an immediate risk has been identified, police will make the disclosure as quickly as possible, to ensure the person’s safety.

Will my partner be told I have made an application?
  • Not necessarily so.  However, when assessing risk to you, PSNI must consider whether the subject of an application should be told that their information is being shared.  This is required under data protection and human rights law.
  • Any decision will be balanced with the risk posed to you, should that person be informed.
Where will my information be kept?
  • Personal information made to the scheme will be retained by PSNI, and only shared with other safeguarding agencies under an established Information Sharing Agreement. 
  • This information will only be used for its intended purpose and access will be restricted to relevant personnel within PSNI and the safeguarding agencies.
How can I find out more information about the scheme?

More information can be found by visiting the nidirect website (

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