On Thursday, April 1, 2021, new domestic violence legislation came into effect in Alberta. Clare’s Law, the Alberta version is a new tool available in helping victims suffering from domestic violence.
A person who feels that they are at risk of domestic violence can now apply for disclosure in order to find out if an intimate partner has a violent history.
Clare’s Law was initially created in the United Kingdom after a young woman was killed by an ex-boyfriend who had a violent history of domestic abuse. Alberta is now the second province after Saskatchewan to implement a version of Clare’s Law to help those who are victims or potential victims of domestic abuse.
Patti Fisher, Intensive Case Manager, with Big Hill Haven Women’s Shelter spoke on behalf of Big Hill with regards to the new legislation saying, “Big Hill Haven is very happy and encouraged that the Alberta Government is taking steps to assist and empower women to avoid unhealthy, and potentially abusive relationships before they start.”
Fisher says that because the legislation is so new they don’t yet have a lot of information on Clare’s law in terms of implementing it and how the shelter will be working with it. There are training sessions available to provide the information that will be required to work with the new law. Fisher says once her training is complete, she will be better able to speak as to how Big Hill Haven will be working with the law. However, for now, those working in the field of fight domestic abuse feel that it is a step in the right direction.
For police, the law will provide an added tool for them to combat the problem as well. In 2019, domestic violence accounted for three percent of police-reported violence in Canada. Between 2008 to 2019 there were 204 deaths related to domestic and family violence in Alberta. Shockingly, half of all young women and girls who are victims of a violent homicide are murdered by someone with a prior conviction. Clare’s Law will allow those victims to look into the past of an abuser or potential abuser and hopefully escape becoming a statistic. Dale McFee, president, Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police says, “One of the most difficult calls a police officer must respond to is that of domestic violence in an intimate partner relationship. These violent crimes often occur secretly behind closed doors over months or even years with intimate partners suffering in silence. Clare’s Law provides a tool that can proactively assist Albertans to make informed decisions while protecting them from potentially being exposed to dangerous situations involving domestic violence.”
Fisher adds, “We do want to remind everyone, that domestic abuse is a real and ongoing problem and if you are suffering from domestic abuse, please reach out to us and the authorities.”
Big Hill Haven Women's Emergency Shelter was established in 2018 to provide support, resources, and emergency shelter to women and families suffering from domestic violence in the community.
Big Hill Haven emergency shelter services remain open during the pandemic.
or through their Live Chat feature at www.bighillhaven.com
Big Hill Haven is ready and prepared to help and the implementation of Clare’s Law will certainly aid in helping victims.
For more information on Clare's Law and obtaining disclosure click here.