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Commentary: New safety law good for Alberta

A marked increase in domestic violence in both rural and urban communities

With the COVID-19 pandemic now well into its second year, and with hundreds and hundreds of new cases being identified across the province every day, the impacts continue to mount in communities large and small.

Those impacts have included increased financial stress on individuals and businesses, disruptions and detours in the education of students of all ages, and, of course, many health problems for those infected. 

Another negative impact of the crisis, perhaps one of the worst impacts, has been a marked increase in domestic violence in both rural and urban communities.

Coming at a time when the stresses of the pandemic are added to all the other pressures of daily life, the jump in domestic violence couldn’t come at a worse time for the individuals and families involved.

Yet at a time when bad news seems to be piling up, the recent adoption of Alberta’s version of Clare’s Law is certainly a welcome counter that can be embraced by the community-at-large.

The Disclosure to Protect Against Domestic Violence Act allows individuals who feel they may be at risk to apply for a disclosure to determine if their intimate partner has a history of domestic violence or related acts.

It also allows police to take proactive action by disclosing relevant information to people at risk. The disclosures will increase the security and safety of those making the applications or those contacted by police.

“Domestic violence can happen to anyone, and its impact takes a toll on our society has a whole,” said Justice Minister Kaycee Madu. “It is critical that we have a system that can better protect those who are at risk of intimate partner violence.”

Between 2008 and 2019, more than 200 Albertans died in domestic violence incidents.

Long after the COVID-19 pandemic is history, this newly enacted Claire’s Law legislation will be protecting law-abiding Alberta citizens from the scourge of domestic violence.

And for that the currently much-maligned Jason Kenney UCP government should be applauded.

Dan Singleton is an editor with The Albertan.

Dan Singleton

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