Alberta improves domestic violence law process
By Riggs Zyrille Vergara, Publishing Editor
The government of Alberta is making efforts to improve the application and risk analysis process of the Disclosure to Protect Against Domestic Violence Law or Clare’s Law to make it more efficient and easier for Albertans to acquire information about their intimate partner if they feel at risk of domestic violence.
Through Clare’s Law, Albertans who believe they are at risk of domestic violence from their intimate partners are given a way to find information from the police whether or not the intimate partners have a history of domestic violence, stalking, harassment, breaches of no contact orders and other relevant acts.
The Clare’s Law website is now more responsive and easier to navigate. Alberta has also expedited the risk analysis process which increased turnaround times and made information readily available and accessible more quickly. Because of this, more than 400 information disclosures have been given to people at risk so they can make more informed choices about their safety.
Police forms and the application forms also went through changes that made the process a lot simpler. Because of this, more than 300 information disclosures have been made available to Albertans who are at risk of domestic violence.
Whitney Issik, the Associate ministers of Status of Women siad in a press release, “When women and children are safe, we all thrive. We must work together as government, as community and as individuals to break the cycle of violence. Clare’s Law is a vital part of the solution. It is an invaluable tool that is saving lives and helping prevent immeasurable pain.”
There are two ways for an at-risk Albertan to acquire information on their intimate partners. The first method is to apply on the Clare’s Law website. In this situation, the person at risk must agree to meet with the police in-person. The second method includes the police proactively providing the person at risk with relevant information about their partner if the police have reason to believe that an act of domestic violence is likely to happen. In this case, the person at risk is not required to make an application nor are they required to talk to the police.
Information about the intimate partner will only be given verbally and cannot be written down, recorded with video or audio, shared on social media, told to another person or be used for any legal proceedings.
Different supports and services are also offered to Clare’s Law applicants such as counselling, safety planning, emergency housing and specialized supports for sexual violence victims.
“Since Clare’s Law launched last year, Sagesse has completed 295 social service referrals. This means nearly 300 Albertans have had the opportunity to access resources and supports to prevent further abuse and live a safer, healthier life…We are thankful for programs such as Clare’s Law. By providing resources to Albertans at risk or experiencing domestic abuse, we know we can prevent abuse before it begins.” Andrea Silverstone, executive director of Sagesse said. Sagesse is an organization based in Calgary working to disrupt the structures of domestic violence.