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

Food trucks will be allowed to operate in several Sooke parks beginning May 1. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sooke’s food truck pilot project under scrutiny

Councillor questions impact food trucks will have on nearby restaurants

A walk for autism awareness. (Black Press Media file photo)
COLUMN: Autism acceptance, not autism awareness

Elizabeth Sparling is the mother of a 24-year-old son with Autism Spectrum Disorder

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
PHOTOS: Vehicle driven into Saanich Walmart removed after two trapped workers rescued

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

Tons of bottles were donated during bottle drives in Sooke and Langford on March 27. The funds raised from the drives will help a local family stay with their daughter during her leukemia treatments in Vancouver. (Photos: Glendora Scarfone)
Sooke, Langford bottle drives help cover family’s costs of staying with daughter during cancer treatments

More than $11,900 raised to help Shae Hanilton’s family stay with her in Vancouver

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Ruming Jiang and his dog Chiu Chiu are doing fine following a brush with hypothermia that saw several people work together to get them out of the Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park on March 25, 2021 (Special to the Advance Times)
Man finds men who rescued him from drowning in B.C.’s Fraser River

A grateful Ruming Jiang says he will thank them again, this time in person when the pandemic ends

Tyson Ginter, 7, is proud of his latest Hot Wheels he recently received by Quesnel RCMP Const. Matt Joyce. (Photo submitted)
B.C. Mountie handing out toy cars to light up children’s faces

‘A lot of times it will be the only interaction they have with the police,’ says Const. Matt Joyce

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, Friday, January 15, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s ICUs see near-record of COVID-19 patients last week as variant cases double

Last week, Canadian hospitals treated an average of 2,500 patients with COVID-19, daily, up 7% from the previous week

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
UVic, women’s rowing coach deny former athlete’s allegation of verbal abuse

Lily Copeland alleges coach Barney Williams would stand close to her and speak aggressively in the sauna

Most Read