Residents can now ask the police about the history of their partners if they are concerned they may be violent or abusive.
The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, which launches this week, gives people the “Right to Ask” about an individual they are in a relationship with, or who is in a relationship with someone they know, if they have a concern that the partner may be violent or abusive.
The scheme, which is also known as Clare's Law after Clare Wood who was killed by her ex-partner George Appleton in Salford in February 2009, has already been trialled elsewhere in the country since September 2012.
The new national scheme also allows the police and partners to consider disclosing that someone's new or potential partner has a history of violent or abusive behaviour, under what is known as the "Right to Know".
Each request will be researched and reviewed by police officers who specialise in investigating domestic abuse and helping to support victims.
Final decisions will be taken by the existing locally based Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conferences.
Trish Harrison, principal manager for domestic and sexual violence at West Sussex County Council, who has chaired the multi-agency group planning the introduction of Clare's Law throughout Sussex, said: "This new scheme gives us an extra opportunity to help people suffering domestic abuse.
“By providing the right information, to the right people, at the right time in the right way; we have the potential to help people change their lives for the better and to save lives."
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