Legislation to help potential victims of domestic abuse15 November 2022
FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government has introduced legislation meant to help people at risk of intimate partner violence make more informed choices about their safety.
The Disclosure to Protect Against Intimate Partner Violence Act, if passed, would allow people to apply for information from police to learn whether their partner has a history of intimate partner violence. Police would also be granted authority to share information with a person who may be at risk to encourage them to apply for disclosure. Those who consider themselves at risk may apply on their own or with assistance, and, in limited circumstances, someone could apply on their behalf.
“This is an important step forward in reducing intimate partner violence,” said Public Safety Minister Kris Austin. “No one should live in fear of their partner. People need access to information to make good decisions.”
“This new legislation will provide another tool to help support victims of domestic and intimate partner violence,” said Tourism, Heritage and Culture Minister Tammy Scott-Wallace, who is also minister responsible for women’s equality. “People in new relationships who see warning signs will be able to access this critical information that could help them evaluate risks and make decisions for their personal safety. It will also allow them to connect to important support services to ensure they have the help they need.”
Applicants would be provided with a risk assessment and contextual information, not details of criminal convictions or similar information. The assessment would be provided verbally and no documents would be issued. Those who receive disclosure would be required to comply with terms and conditions on the use of that information, including not sharing or publishing it. The subject of the request would not be informed that an application has been made.
The application process would provide another opportunity for violence prevention, in that applicants could be offered and referred to programs and support services.
Similar legislation is already in place in Saskatchewan and Alberta.