RCMP Stats and Recent Media Lines (Clare’s Law)
Date: June 23, 2020
Fully releasable (ATIP)? Yes
Branch / Agency: RCMP
On June 22, 2020, the province of Saskatchewan issued a media release advising that the Interpersonal Violence Disclosure Protocol (Clare’s Law) Act comes into force on June 29, 2020, and that all municipal police services will be participating in this new protocol but that the RCMP had recently indicated that it will not participate.
- The RCMP has not refused to participate in or implement Clare’s Law.
- To the contrary, the RCMP has been involved with the planning for Clare's Law from the beginning. The RCMP has been, and continues to be, supportive of this initiative.
- Early in the discussions and planning for the implementation of Clare's Law, the RCMP identified to the Saskatchewan government and municipal police services, that there may be some challenges that the RCMP will need to overcome during the law’s onboarding phase due to the fact that the RCMP, unlike independent municipal police departments in Saskatchewan, are subject to federal legislation, including privacy legislation.
- The RCMP is continuing to look into the matter, and considering how best it can support Clare's Law objectives within its obligations under federal legislation, including the Privacy Act.
- The RCMP is mindful that legislation similar to Clare’s Law is pending in other provinces where the RCMP is the contract provincial police force. This makes it important to ensure that any approach taken by the RCMP, a federal institution, reflects a well-considered nationwide approach in terms of harmonizing various provincial Clare’s Law frameworks with the overarching federal privacy regime.
- In the meantime, the RCMP maintains its commitment to keeping families and communities safe and will continue to work in a cooperative manner with partner agencies and government departments to seek solutions to the serious problem of domestic violence.
- In particular, the RCMP remains committed to helping any individual with concerns about domestic violence through processes that have always existed for the RCMP. The Saskatchewan RCMP are also implementing a new, enhanced process that will ensure anyone who comes forward with concerns and is identified by the RCMP as being at risk will be provided access to Victim's Services, relevant information, and other resources to enhance their safety.
- If as a result of this assessment, the RCMP determines that a crime has been committed or is imminent, then it will take all necessary actions.
- It is important to note that any member of the public can access information relating to criminal convictions through provincial court houses.
Clare’s Law was an initiative in England and Wales that was created in response to Clare Wood being murdered by her boyfriend in 2009. Ms. Wood was killed by an accused who had a record of violence against women. Her family believes that she would still be alive if she knew the full extent of the accused’s previous behavior.
Saskatchewan Bill 141- The Interpersonal Violence Disclosure Protocol (Clare’s Law) Act authorizes a police service to disclose certain risk-related information to a current or former intimate partner where such information will assist the current or former partner in making informed decisions about their safety and the relationship. An application can be made by a person who feels they may be at risk of harm by a current or former intimate partner. A third party, such as a parent, can also make an application on behalf of a person, with or without their consent. If a criminal offence is reported during the application, the police will investigate the substantive offence. The protocol acts as a roadmap for police officers to make disclosures when they determine an individual may be at risk in their intimate relationship. The Act provides immunity for officers acting in “good faith”.
Once an officer assesses whether there is a risk, the file can then go to a multi-sector review committee for further assessment and review, which includes a full risk determination (low/medium/high) and further recommendation on disclosure. Risk level (low/medium/high) will then be disclosed to the person making the application, along with any relevant criminal convictions.
Bill 141, The Interpersonal Violence Disclosure Protocol (Clare’s Law) Act received Royal Assent on May 15, 2019. Since then, the province of Saskatchewan has been working with law enforcement in Saskatchewan and other partners on implementation processes. The RCMP identified from the outset federal Privacy Act issues which could preclude the RCMP’s ability to participate in the Clare’s Law protocol and communicated these concerns to provincial partners. Clare’s Law comes into force on June 29, 2020. The RCMP is continuing to look into the matter, and considering how best it can support Clare's Law objectives within its obligations under the federal Privacy Act.
Prepared by: C/Supt. Alfredo Bangloy, Officer in Charge, Provincial Criminal Operations, “F” Division RCMP, Mobile 306-501-3876.
Approved by: Name, title and phone number (ADM or equivalent only)
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