The federal government says RCMP in two Prairie provinces will be able to participate in a measure aimed at preventing people from becoming victims of domestic violence.
Clare’s Law comes into effect Thursday in Alberta and is already in use in Saskatchewan.
It allows people who feel they may be at risk to apply for information related to a partner’s potential risk for domestic violence. Police can also warn potential victims if they feel they are in danger.
The law originated in the United Kingdom and is named after Clare Wood, a woman who was murdered in 2009 by a partner she didn’t know had a violent criminal history.
“Victims and survivors of intimate partner violence now have another ally across Canada,” Minister of Public Safety Bill Blair said Wednesday in a news release.
“I look forward to see the RCMP’s continued work with partner agencies and the Government of Canada as we seek solutions to the serious problem of intimate partner violence.”
Mounties had not been able to participate in Saskatchewan because of federal privacy laws, but officials said stopgap measures were put in place to make sure victims got the supports they needed.
They say regulatory changes have now been made and privacy impact assessments are being finalized to ensure the RCMP’s full participation in Clare’s Law in both provinces.
Saskatchewan RCMP, the police service for towns and small cities in the primarily rural province, said they have worked toward having an active role in the law for 10 months.
“Saskatchewan was the first province to implement Clare’s Law and the Saskatchewan RCMP is one of the first RCMP Divisions to implement it in Canada,” Chief Supt. Alfredo Bangloy, acting commanding officer in the province, said in a news release.
“We’re committed to continuing to support those facing violence in relationships, intimate partner violence and gender-based violence.”
Officials said applications can be made in Saskatchewan by anyone who feels at risk or by a friend of a person at risk by visiting an RCMP detachment or filling out an application for disclosure. In Alberta, the law will allow people to apply online through a provincial government website.
Saskatchewan Justice Minister Gordon Wyant welcomed the RCMP’s participation.
“This change will ensure that everyone in Saskatchewan can take advantage of this legislation and the protection it offers right in their home community,” he said in a statement.
Wyant said he’s also encouraged to see Alberta bring in Clare’s Law and hoped other provinces will take the same step.
RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki said officers would be able to participate should that happen.
“The RCMP will be able to fully support victims and survivors of intimate partner violence where provincial and territorial governments enact this legislation,” she said.
Newfoundland and Labrador has also been working to bring into effect similar legislation passed in December 2019.
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