Clare’s Law – Preventing Domestic Violence
March 03, 2022
People at risk of domestic violence have the right to get information about potentially harmful intimate partners. The Disclosure to Protect Against Domestic Violence (Clare’s Law) Act gives people who feel at risk of domestic violence a way to get information about their partners so they can make an informed choice regarding their safety.
Alberta’s version of Clare’s Law is named after a young woman who was killed by an ex-boyfriend with a history of violence against women. People at risk can find out if their partner has a history of domestic violence, stalking or harassment, breaches of no contact orders, and other relevant acts.
How to get information
As a person at risk (the person determined to be at risk of domestic violence), you can receive information from police in one of two ways – right to know or right to ask.
Right to know
In this situation, the police can proactively provide you with relevant information if it has been determined that you are at risk of domestic violence. You do not need to make Clare’s Law application in this case. For police to start the process, they must have reason to believe an act of domestic violence is reasonably likely to occur and must apply to the government to provide information to the person at risk. The person at risk may not want to talk to the police, which is their choice.
Right to ask
In this situation, you can apply to find out if your current or a former intimate partner has a history of domestic violence.
Make an application
It is important to note that the person you want to obtain information on will not know about your application for information.
They are referred to as the person of disclosure.
First and foremost, the person at risk must agree to meet with the police in person in order to receive information.
When making an application, you will be asked to provide information about yourself as well as the person of disclosure including full names, addresses, birth dates, contact information, the nature of your relationship, and other identifying information. If you do not know the answers to any of the questions within the application pertaining to the person of disclosure, please do not put yourself at risk by attempting to find them.
The police will check law enforcement databases on both you and the person of disclosure. If a third party is submitting the application on behalf of the person at risk, the police will check law enforcement databases for them, as well.
An application must be complete for it to be eligible.
The police only provide information to a person at risk in order to allow that person the ability to make an informed decision regarding their safety. The information provided cannot be shared with anyone else.
There are rules about how the information pertaining to the person of disclosure can be relayed. The police will only meet with the person at risk or other authorized individuals, and the meeting must be in person. The information can only be shared verbally, and the person at risk and any other authorized persons receiving the information must sign a confidentiality agreement.
The information relayed cannot be written down, recorded with video or audio, shared on social media, disclosed to another person, or used for any form of legal proceedings.
Who can request the information?
- People who feel they are at risk
You can apply for information if you:
- Live in Alberta
- Are in an intimate partner relationship with the person of disclosure – which is defined as a relationship between 2 people of any gender, is physically or emotionally close, or both. This includes current or former dating, common-law, and marriage relationships.
- Have a reason as to why you want the information, such as fear or worry for your safety or well-being. You must detail why you feel the person of disclosure could or will harm you.
- Will talk to and meet with the police to receive the information.
People who feel they are at risk can apply to find out if their partner has a history of domestic violence,
stalking or harassment, breaches of no contact orders, other relevant acts.
2. Third-party application
Someone applying to get information on behalf of a person at risk is called a third-party application.
If you make a third-party application, you must have consent from the person at risk, and you must be sure the person at risk will agree to meet with and talk to the police. You may act as a third-party application for another person if the person at risk permitted you to apply for them, or you have that person’s legal authority (you are that person’s legal guardian).
If you are a third-party applicant, the person you feel is at risk will be contacted to make sure they want to proceed. Only the person at risk or other legally authorized persons will receive the information.
Who cannot request information?
You cannot apply to get information if you have not met the person of disclosure personally, if you cannot provide a valid reason as to why you want to get this information, or if you want to use the information for malicious intent or other reasons such as a child custody hearing, divorce proceeding, any other court process, or sharing with any other person.
If you are a person at risk or you are a third-party applicant, you can fill out Clare’s Law application to obtain information here. The application takes approximately 30 minutes to complete.
Please note that the personal information of the applicant, person of disclosure, and any third parties collect through the “Clare’s Law” application will be checked against law enforcement databases and used for the purpose of:
- Verifying identities
- Confirming eligibility for the Clare’s Law program
- Identifying / preventing program misuse
- Conducting a risk assessment
- Establishing the context for the intimate partner relationship
- Providing information
If you choose to proceed, the personal information provided will be used in accordance with Clare’s Law, given to the police for law enforcement purposes, used to connect you with social supports if desired, provided to the Government of Alberta for internal program evaluation.
This personal information collection is:
- Authorized under section 2 of the Disclosure to Protect Against Domestic Violence (Clare’s Law) Act.
- Authorized under section 33 (a), (b) and (c) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP) Act.
- Protected in accordance with sections 33 to 40 of the FOIP Act
After you apply
Once an application is submitted, help will be offered. Submitting the information is just the first step, and applicants and persons at risk will be asked many times if they need support for domestic violence.
It will take approximately 4 weeks to get the disclosure information.
The person of the disclosure will not be told that there was an application for information about them.
People can trust that their personal information will be safeguarded, and only relevant details will be disclosed to those who have been authorized to receive it.If a crime is reported, or if an applicant, person of disclosure, or third-party applicant has warrants, the police have a duty to respond and investigate in accordance with normal operating procedures.
If a crime is reported, it may not be possible to protect the identity of the person at risk.
Report crime online!
The RCMP are encouraging all Albertans to report eligible crimes online (select property crimes under $5,000). Reporting less serious crimes online helps emergency dispatch and frontline members focus their time on high-priority calls. It provides a convenient way to share photos to the RCMP as well. These reports assist in crime analysis, aid in establishing trends and patterns, and ultimately leads investigators to the chronic offenders. It also assists in making decisions about how and where to deploy resources. Crimes reported online will be taken just as seriously as crime reported in any other way.
Help reduce crime, report online! #ReportSmart
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