LETHBRIDGE, AB – A critical campaign promise made by the United Conservative Party to protect Albertans from domestic violence is coming into effect later this week.

Applications open Thursday (Apr. 1) on the Alberta Government website for the Disclosure to Protect Against Domestic Violence Act, otherwise known as Clare’s Law. The law first began in the United Kingdom, when a young woman there named Clare was killed by an ex-boyfriend who had a history of domestic violence.

Under this new legislation, those who think they’re at risk and want to make an informed choice about their safety, can apply for disclosure regarding a current or former partner’s history of domestic violence. Additionally, police can apply if they suspect someone is at risk, and others can also apply on behalf of someone else, with their consent – or without their consent, if they’re that person’s legal guardian or authority. 

The person whose information is being disclosed is never informed about the application, and all the information must be kept confidential by the person who receives it to protect any sensitive details.

Minister of Community and Social Services Rajan Sawhney stresses that domestic violence can affect anyone, no matter their age, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation.”Alberta is currently the fourth highest in Canada for police reported intimate partner violence. In fact, Lethbridge has the highest rate in the country for both police reported family violence and intimate partner violence.”

The Lethbridge Police Services (LPS) says officers responded to nearly 1,700 reports of domestic violence throughout 2020, resulting in 1,377 charges being laid.

The LPS is applauding this effort by the provincial government, adding that it’s “an important tool in protecting Albertans.”