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Saskatchewan is one step closer to becoming the first province to implement “Clare’s Law.”
The Interpersonal Violence Disclosure Protocol (Clare’s Law) Act has received third reading in the legislature. The Act will come into force after the disclosure protocol and regulations are established.
“Government will collaborate over the summer with our partners in law enforcement and the shelter community to develop the protocol and regulations,” Justice Minister and Attorney General Don Morgan said. “We are working hard to get this legislation in place to help people who may be at risk in an intimate relationship.”
The Act will allow police to release information about someone’s violent or abusive past to intimate partners whose safety may be threatened.
It creates a framework and standard process for the disclosure of information to applicants who believe they may be at risk from an intimate partner (“right to ask”), and to persons identified by police to be at risk (“right to know”).
“The Saskatchewan Association of Chiefs of Police recognizes that Saskatchewan has one of the highest rates of domestic assaults in Canada,” Saskatchewan Association of Chiefs of Police President Chief Marlo Pritchard said. “Clare's Law is designed as a tool for individuals who think they may be at risk of interpersonal violence to get knowledge that will allow them to make those necessary decisions to increase their safety. We know this law will not be a panacea for eliminating domestic assaults, but we hope that it will increase prevention and reduce the prevalence of interpersonal violence in our communities.”
Part of the standard process will involve a multi-sector review committee, which will provide recommendations on potential disclosures. The police service will retain the ultimate discretion as to when to disclose information.
“Clare’s Law” was implemented across England and Wales in March 2014. It is named in honour of Clare Wood, who was the victim of a homicide committed by her partner.