The scheme, named “Clare’s Law” after a Manchester woman who was killed by a man she met on Facebook, will begin with trials in Wiltshire and Gwent, before being rolled out nationally.
Clare Wood, 36, was strangled by ex-boyfriend George Appleton in 2009 – he set her body on fire before hanging himself.
Her family later discovered that he had a history of violence against women, including kidnapping an ex-girlfriend at knifepoint.
They have campaigned ever since for women to be given the power to ask the police and other agencies to check the records of prospective boyfriends.
Announcing the scheme, Theresa May, the Home Secretary, said: “Domestic violence is a dreadful crime which sees two women a week die at the hands of their partners, and millions more suffer years of abuse in their own homes. That is why we are constantly looking at new ways of protecting victims.”
The trials will continue in Manchester and Nottingham from September, but a national start date has yet to be set.
Under the scheme, both men and women will be able to apply to check on a partner with whom they are embarking on an “intimate relationship”.
Applications will also be allowed from family members, friends and neighbours on behalf of another person if they have a “reasonable” fear that they may be at risk.
Critics including Refuge, the domestic violence charity, have said that the initiative is a waste of police time, and there are also concerns about the potential for malicious complaints.
If police do uncover a violence in the past of someone who has been checked, they will meet with other agencies to discuss how to ensure the person is kept safe.
Officers will also be able to warn a woman that she may be at risk if they are tipped off by a third party, such as a doctor, that a violent individual has begun a new relationship.
Carmel Napier, the Chief Constable of Gwent who is responsible for domestic violence for the Association of Chief Police Officers said: “The scheme is intended to empower people to make informed decisions to protect themselves and their children when getting involved with a new partner.”
In 2010, 94 women and 21 men were murdered by a current or former spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend.
Source: The Telegraph