Alberta’s provincial flag flies in Ottawa, Monday, July 6, 2020. Alberta is the second province to bring in a law that could help people at risk of domestic violence learn about an intimate partner’s criminal record. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Alberta’s provincial flag flies in Ottawa, Monday, July 6, 2020. Alberta is the second province to bring in a law that could help people at risk of domestic violence learn about an intimate partner’s criminal record. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Alberta brings in Clare’s Law to allow access to intimate partner’s violent history

The law originated in the U.K. and is named after Clare Wood, a woman who was murdered in 2009 by a partner

Alberta is the second province to bring in a law that could help people at risk of domestic violence learn about their intimate partner’s past.

The legislation, which is informally known as Clare’s Law, is to come into effect Thursday.

“Alberta is currently the fourth highest in Canada for rates of police-reported intimate partner violence,” Social Services Minister Rajan Sawhney said Tuesday. “In fact, Lethbridge has the highest rate in the country.

“Between 2008 and 2019, we lost 204 Albertans to family violence-related deaths. This is unacceptable.”

Sawhney said that’s why the government brought in the Disclosure to Protect Against Domestic Violence (Clare’s Law) Act.

The law originated in the United Kingdom and is named after Clare Wood, a woman who was murdered in 2009 by a partner she didn’t know had a violent criminal history.

A similar law came into force last June in Saskatchewan and one is also in the works in Newfoundland and Labrador.

In Alberta, the law will allow people who feel they may be at risk to apply online for information related to a current or former partner’s potential risk for domestic violence.

Police can also choose to warn potential victims if there’s a sense they are in danger.

TsuuT’ina Police Service Chief Keith Blake, who spoke on behalf of the Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police, said it’s an important step.

“One of the most difficult calls a police officer must respond to is that of domestic violence in an intimate-partner relationship,” he said. “Domestic violence can also turn deadly.

“There is a common misconception that a victim of domestic violence can easily leave their violent partner, but sadly the reality is not that simple.”

Victims will also have the ability to ask for additional help.

“There is a support system ready to help them and keep them safe if they need it or want it, regardless of their risk level,” said Justice Minister Kaycee Madu.

Advocates suggest a positive outcome is more probable when social service supports are added into the mix.

“The Clare’s Law application process provides a crucial window of opportunity for violence prevention,” said Andrea Silverstone, executive director of Sagesse Domestic Violence Prevention Society in Calgary.

“The bottom line is if you are worried about it enough to fill out a Clare’s Law application, you can benefit from social service support.”

The Canadian Press

Albertadomestic violence

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City of Duncan considering an average 3.51 per cent tax increase for 2021. (File photo)
Duncan considers average 3.51% tax increase for 2021

Homeowners would see a $43 increase over last year

North Cowichan councillor Kate Marsh. (File photo)
North Cowichan postpones decision on cell tower placement

But cell tower policy may be developed soon

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks at a press conference Monday, April 18. (B.C. Government image)
New COVID-19 cases tick down on the central Island

New cases held to single digits three days in a row

CVRD offices on Ingram Street will remain closed for another 14 weeks after flooding last month. (File photo)
CVRD headquarters closed for another three and a half months

Building significantly damaged during water leak

Victoria police are asking for help locating high-risk missing man Derek Whittaker, last seen in Victoria April 12. (Courtesy of VicPD)
MISSING: Police searching for Derek Whittaker, last seen in Victoria

Whittaker believed to be driving 1994 red Volkswagen Golf

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

Police executed a search warrant at the Devils Army Clubhouse on Petersen road in Campbell River on August 10, 2017.
Murder trial into 2016 Campbell River killing underway in Victoria

Ricky Alexander is charged with the first-degree murder of John Dillon Brown

..
Abbotsford nurse at ‘breaking point’ pleads with public to take COVID-19 seriously

Instagram post urges general population to stay home, wear a mask and get vaccinated

Alex Mah of Chemainus spends a sunny day at Kin Beach reading to daughter Beatrice Mah. 3. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Vancouver Island’s mini-summer poised to fade

Cooler and damper this weekend, summer-like conditions not likely to return until late June

A native-to-B.C. wild queen bee (bombus melanopygus for those in the know) feeds on a periwinkle flower. (Submitted/Sarah Johnson, Native Bee Society of BC)
B.C.’s wild bees need messy gardens to survive

The year-long nesting period makes habitat a primary concern for wild bees

Nanaimo Fire Rescue investigator Mark Jonah probes the scene of a blaze that destroyed two apartments on Sunday, April 18. The cause of the blaze has not been determined. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Arson suspect arrested after apartment fire in Nanaimo

35-year-old man arrested for allegedly starting fire lived in the complex

A wildfire has started near Gold River, and B.C. Wildfire Service crews are on scene. Photo courtesy Coastal Fire Centre
Small wildfire burning in difficult terrain near Gold River

Coastal Fire Centre investigating, but confirms blaze is human-caused

FILE – Health-care workers wave to people clapping and yelling thank you to the frontline workers during the 7 p.m.-tribute outside the Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, April 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. nurses issue plea for all to follow health orders as hospitalizations spike

Nurses worried about strain COVID-19 is having on hospital capacity, care

Most Read