Alberta needs to be a safer place for everyone, including Indigenous women.
That’s why Alberta’s government is taking action to prevent domestic violence before it occurs.
As of April 1, Alberta’s version of Clare’s Law comes into effect.
Clare’s Law allows Albertans to access information that will help them make an informed choice about their safety. It also enables police to take proactive steps to prevent people at risk from being victimized. This will help anyone in Alberta at risk of domestic violence apply to police to find out if their intimate partner has a history of domestic violence or abuse.
Alberta’s government takes the threat and impact of domestic and family violence very seriously, which is why we are better protecting those who are at risk for domestic violence. This legislation will help empower those who may be at risk by giving people access to the right information that could potentially save their lives.
Recently, the Vital Statistics Amendment Act was also introduced. This would prevent convicted violent offenders from legally changing their names, so they cannot hide that past from future intimate partners.
These are two more important ways to put the law on the side of people at risk before domestic violence happens, or to save their lives. For many Indigenous women, this can be crucial.
Indigenous women are strong, resilient, and leaders in their families and communities. However, many continue to be at higher risk of experiencing violence. Preventing domestic violence is one part of it, but far from the whole story.
Violence prevention work needs to continue, especially because crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, raise the risk of violence for more people. Legislation like Clare’s Law and the Vital Statistics Amendment Act are important now, more than ever. Alberta’s government also provided an additional $6.1 million to shelters across the province ensuring supports continue to be safe and accessible.
The Alberta Joint Working Group on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls continues to move forward in its examination of the issue of violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people. I am expecting to see their recommendations late in 2021.
I also declared October 4, 2019 and 2020 as Sisters in Spirit Day in Alberta to honour the lives of these women and girls who were loved and lost, and whose families and communities mourn them. I mourn, too.
These women and girls deserved to live in an Alberta that feels safe and filled with hope and promise. Alberta’s government is working to make that happen for their families, friends and generations of Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people.
Together we can stop the cycle of violence. If you know someone who is affected, please let them know help is available. The Family Violence Info Line is accessible 24/7, toll-free at 310-1818.
Rick Wilson was sworn in as Minister of Indigenous Relations on April 30, 2019.