News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

May 30, 2022

MANITOBA GOVERNMENT INTRODUCES CLARE'S LAW, AIMED AT PROTECTING AGAINST INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE

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Clare's Law Would Provide Access to Information on Intimate Partner's Documented History of Violence, Access to Supports to Help End the Cycle of Violence: Squires

The Manitoba government has introduced Bill 43, the disclosure to protect against intimate partner violence act, to give Manitobans access to an intimate partner’s documented history of violence and supports, Families Minister Rochelle Squires, minister responsible for the status of women, announced today.

“Manitoba has some of the highest rates of intimate partner violence and family violence in Canada,” said Squires. “These types of violence primarily affect women and girls, disproportionally affect those living in rural, remote and northern communities, Indigenous people, people of colour and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people. The purpose of Clare’s Law is to provide Manitobans with access to information on whether their partner has a documented history of violence, as well as access to public and community-based supports to promote safety and end the cycle of violence.”

Clare’s Law is named after Clare Wood, a British woman who was murdered by her partner in 2009. Wood’s family fought to put a disclosure protocol in place that would enable people to obtain information from police about a partner’s documented history of violence in hopes they may safely leave relationships when a risk of violence may be present.

“The Canadian Centre for Child Protection welcomes the introduction of Clare’s Law in Manitoba,” said Signy Arnason, associate executive director, Canadian Centre for Child Protection. “We believe that this important and innovative law will make a tangible difference for the safety of Manitobans. We are pleased that community-based supports will be woven into the process and that sexual violence will be in scope. It is critically important for parents to be able to obtain essential information to help protect their child and this legislation will do just that.”

Manitoba’s proposed version of Clare’s Law takes a unique disclose and support approach, noted the minister, and Manitoba would be the first jurisdiction in the world to have access to public or community-based supports as a stated goal in legislation.

“Our province will also be the first jurisdiction in Canada to expand the approach to include not only domestic violence, but also family violence and sexual violence within intimate partner relationships,” said Squires. “This means a mom who may be concerned about her safety or is concerned about behaviour from her intimate partner towards her minor children would be eligible to complete an application.”

The Manitoba Status of Women Secretariat and Manitoba Justice have been leading the development of this bill. Using innovative techniques, they have brought together a working group of police services, community organizations and provincial departments to co-design Manitoba’s approach to Clare’s Law, noted Squires. They have also worked closely with leading international researchers on Clare’s Laws to identify and proactively address known gaps, risks and challenges experienced by other jurisdictions around the world.

“On behalf of the Manitoba Association of Chiefs of Police, I support the implementation of a disclosure protocol in the spirit of Clare’s Law and the design teams ongoing work that would enable Manitoba residents to access information about their intimate partner’s documented history of violence,” said Chief Danny Smyth, Winnipeg Police Service, and president, Manitoba Association of Chiefs of Police.

The design team continues to work with privacy experts to ensure the province’s approach to disclosure is appropriately respectful of the privacy of the person whose information is being disclosed. The bill is enabling legislation and many of the details of the process would be contained in the accompanying regulations and policies. The minister noted the act would come into effect upon proclamation within the next 18 months to allow time for further consultations and co-design work to be completed.

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