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

Spray paint was discovered at Hot Rocks. (Special to The News)
Popular Maple Ridge summer destination vandalized

Rocks discovered with spray paint along South Alouette

Police shut down 240 Street after a single vehicle accident. (The News files)
Maple Ridge man dies following crash

Police believe he went into medical distress before accident

An early morning fire forced the evacuation of a Maple Ridge apartment building on Saturday, April 3 (Deborah Hampton/Special to The News)
City of Maple Ridge thanks volunteers for response to Easter weekend blaze

Emergency Support Services volunteers stepped up to help displaced residents

A partial image from the painting Kanaka Creek by Eric Hotz, which in the exhibit at the Pitt Meadows Art Gallery.
A Study of Nature exhibition opens at Pitt Meadows Art Gallery

Eric Hotz paintings feature familiar scenes from across the Lower Mainland

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

A youth was arrested following a car crash on Wallace Street on Saturday, April 10. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Onlookers laugh and jeer as B.C. teen beaten, then forced to strip and walk home

Police arrest older teen, call video shared on social media ‘disturbing’

Surrey RCMP are seeking the public's help to locate three puppies stolen from a South Surrey home on April 10. (Surrey RCMP photos)
Puppies stolen during weekend break-and-enter in South Surrey

Surrey RCMP seeking public’s assistance in locating three American Bulldog puppies

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

Guinevere, lovingly referred to by Jackee Sullivan and her family as Gwenny, is in need of a gynecological surgery. The family is raising money to help offset the cost of the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley lizard’s owners raise funds for gynecological surgery

The young reptile is scheduled for operation on Tuesday

—Image: contributed
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

Mounties say they “corralled” four Ford Mustangs April 4 after an officer saw the muscle cars racing down 184 Street near 53 Avenue at about 10 p.m. (File Photo)
Mounties impound four Mustangs

Surrey RCMP say they seized four cars for street racing

Most Read