Protecting Women From Domestic Violence

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“A United Conservative government would introduce a Bill modelled on Great Britain’s ‘Clare’s Law’, which would allow police to warn women of their partner’s violent or abusive past. This would be the centerpiece of a United Conservative commitment to better protect women from domestic violence.”

  • Clare’s Law is named for Clare Wood, a woman murdered by her boyfriend who had concealed from her a six-year jail term he served for holding a woman at knifepoint for 12 hours. Had she known about his violent past, her utterly tragic murder could have been prevented. Our goal is to prevent similar tragedies.
  • This legislation is the centrepiece of the United Conservatives’ commitment to better protect women from domestic violence.
  • Applications to receive this information could be made by the person at risk or family members, although only the at-risk partner 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, the United Conservatives would commit $2 million to expand the use of specialized electronic monitoring technology.
  • To better serve rural women, a United Conservative government would immediately review what improvements to medical and forensic evidence gathering might be necessary in rural communities.
  • A United Conservative government would develop and implement a specific Repeat Offender Policy with both provincial and federal components.

For more detail, please see below.​

Among all Canadian provinces, Alberta has the third-highest1 level of reported domestic and intimate partner violence:2 According to Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, over the five years between 2008 and 2013, there were on average 11,000 reported cases annually.3 On average, a dozen Alberta women are killed every year in domestic disputes.4

A United Conservative Party government will if elected, pass two measures to improve protection for women against domestic violence.

1) Pass an Alberta version of ‘Clare’s Law’ that will ensure that in defined circumstances,5 people at risk of domestic violence may have fuller awareness of an intimate partner’s previous history of domestic violence, or violent acts.

2) Invest $2 million in expanding the use of specialised electronic monitoring technology, to more fully prevent those serving sentences in the community from having contact with those they were convicted of victimising.

Clare’s Law is named for Clare Wood, a British woman murdered and set on fire by her boyfriend in 2009.6

Neither she nor her family were ever aware that before she met him, he had accumulated an extensive record of abuse which included repeated harassment, threats and the kidnapping at knifepoint of one of his ex-girlfriends, who he held for twelve hours.

For that, he was given and served a six-year jail sentence.

Clare’s father later successfully lobbied the British government to pass legislation that, had it been in place earlier, would have allowed Clare to learn of her partner’s violent past.

Saskatchewan, which has the highest rate of domestic and intimate partner violence,7 adopted similar legislation last year.8 It allows police services to disclose information to an at-risk-person about their intimate partner.

An application may be made by the person-at-risk, or with the person’s consent, that person’s family, shelters, local police, lawyers, psychologists, social workers or nurses. Only the person-at-risk receives the information.

Alberta’s legislation would be modelled on that of Saskatchewan.7

“Clare’s Law is a formal mechanism that can be used to reduce barriers that victims or potential victims of domestic violence face when making informed decisions about their safety.  The Law ensures that services and systems communicate with each about a victim’s risk and an individual’s criminal past with abuse, which allows for appropriate supports and services to be put in place.  This Law, if established in Alberta, would be an effective means to empower individuals, communities and organization to work together toward ending domestic violence.”  
Andrea Silverstone: Executive Director of Sagesse9

Electronic monitoring, usually performed with devices known as ankle bracelets, was introduced on a trial basis in the Red Deer area in 2009. Considered a success, it has allowed men convicted of lower levels of domestic violence to serve their sentences in the community, thereby continuing to work and support themselves. The devices, more properly known as ankle monitors, contain a cellphone and a GPS, and may be set to confine the movements of the wearer to a designated location, and to alert authorities if he strays out of bounds.

The system is marketed by an Alberta companySafeTracks GPS.10

The $2 million cost will be met funds reallocated from other programs.

To read the News Release, please click here

  2. Intimate partner violence includes violence against spouses and dating partners in current and former relationships. Spouses are defined as current or former legally married, separated, divorced and common-law partners, while dating relationships include current or former boyfriends and girlfriends as well as “other” intimate relationships (sexual relationships or situations involving mutual sexual attraction which were not considered to be dating relationships).”[🠝]
  5. Defined Circumstances: Before revealing a person’s violent past, a panel reviews the case to assess the degree of risk[🠝]
  6. Inter alia.[🠝]
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