Saskatoon violence researcher praises RCMP participation in Clare’s Law

Wednesday’s announcement that the Saskatchewan RCMP will participate in Clare’s Law is welcome news to a University of Saskatchewan violence researcher.

Clare’s Law allows police to provide disclosure information to a potential victim of violence regarding a partner’s violent past.

Karen Wood is the interim director of Resolve Saskatchewan, a research network examines violence in relationships, intimate partner violence and gender-based violence.

“The rates of intimate partner violence and gender based violence in Saskatchewan are outrageous; worst in the country,” Wood told CTV News.

She can’t say definitely why this is the case. But victims obtain information on potential violent partners in remote areas of the province is a step in the right direction, she said

“It adds one more possible element to proactively addressing significant risk of harm so I’m really pleased to hear that. I know the RCMP have been working hard to navigate that and I’m just delighted that it’s going forward,” Wood said.

Police partners in Saskatchewan began following this violence disclosure protocol last June.

“The Saskatchewan RCMP has always played an active role in the planning provincially around Clare’s Law. We have been working persistently towards this day for over 10 months, to ensure the people in the communities’ we police in Saskatchewan are able to exercise their right to ask and participate in Clare’s Law,” C/Supt. Alfredo Bangloy, Acting Commanding Officer for the Saskatchewan RCMP, said in a release.

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.

In order for the RCMP to participate in Clare’s Law, changes were required to the federal personal privacy act.

Saskatchewan Justice Minister Gordon Wyant said the RCMP's participation will greatly expand the coverage of Clare's Law.

Residents here have had the ability to access Clare's Law through municipal police services since 2020.

"The RCMP's participation in Clare's Law is a significant step forward in our efforts to prevent interpersonal violence. This change will ensure that everyone in Saskatchewan can take advantage of this legislation and the protection it offers right in their home community," Wyant said in a statement.

Each request for information made under Clare’s Law is considered on a case-by-case basis and information relating to a request is reviewed by a committee consisting of police services, Victims Services and The Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services of Saskatchewan.