On the eve of International Women’s Day, a commitment to ‘Clare’s Law,’ and electronic monitoring
EDMONTON, AB (March 7, 2019): United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney today announced that if elected, a UCP government would introduce a bill allowing police to warn partners of someone’s violent or abusive past.
Modelled on Great Britain’s ‘Clare’s Law,’ the new legislation is the centrepiece of a UCP commitment to better protect women from domestic violence. Also included in that commitment are measures to increase funding for law enforcement agencies focused on stalking, child exploitation and intimate partner violence, as well as initiatives intended to deal with the particular vulnerability of rural women.
Clare’s Law is named for Clare Wood, murdered by her boyfriend, who had concealed from her a six-year jail term he served for holding a woman captive at knifepoint for 12 hours.1
UCP leader Jason Kenney commented, “Had she known about her partner’s violent past, her murder could have been prevented. It was utterly tragic. Our goal is to prevent similar tragedies here: Unfortunately, there are enough instances of domestic violence in Alberta2 – it’s more than 11,000 a year according to a recent study – that legislation like this could save lives here, too.”
Last year Saskatchewan, which has the highest rate of intimate partner violence among the Canadian provinces, became the first Canadian province to adopt a similar law.1 Alberta has the third highest rate of intimate partner violence.3 On average, a dozen Alberta women are killed every year in domestic disputes.4
Added Kenney, “Our legislation would allow the person at risk and family members to apply for this information, although only the at-risk woman would receive it.”
Applications would be reviewed by a panel to determine whether the risk warranted disclosure.
As a further measure to protect women from domestic violence, Kenney also promised $2 million to expand the use of specialised electronic monitoring technology.
Kenney commented that women are rightfully concerned about lax sentencing and personal security issues, especially in rural areas.
“To better serve rural women, I am also pleased to announce that a UCP government would immediately review what improvements to medical and forensic evidence gathering might be necessary in rural communities.”
Finally, to help the criminal justice system function better, a UCP government will develop and implement a specific Repeat Offender Policy with both provincial and federal components, said Kenney.
Funds for these and other justice-related initiatives would come from redirected program spending, including government advertising budgets.
Kenney recently5 announced the UCP’s commitment to new laws against human trafficking, the overwhelming victims of which are women.
“I said then that I wanted Alberta to be in the forefront of that fight and I feel the same about domestic violence, stalking and the exploitation of children,” said Kenney. “The protection of the those at risk is the first job of government and on the eve of this year’s International Women’s Day, I am proud to commit the United Conservative Party to protecting those at risk.”