Canada’s Senate passes Keira’s Law aimed at educating decision-makers on domestic violence

Canada’s senate has passed a bill aimed at educating judges about the dangers of domestic violence and coercive control.

‘Keira’s Law,’ Bill C-233, was introduced by Anju Dhillon, member of Parliament for Dorval—Lachine—LaSalle in 2022 on the second anniversary of Keira Kagan’s death in Milton, Ont.

The legislation focuses on protection for children of abusive ex-partners via amendments to the Judges Act.

It adds continuous education for decision-makers on the finer points of violence and control in family relationships.

Additionally, justices are now expected to consider whether a release order for an accused is in the interests of the safety and security. Electronic monitoring devices can now be a condition of release.

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Keira’s Law aims to educate judges about domestic violence

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Keira Kagan was reported missing on Feb. 9, 2020 while spending the weekend with her father, 35-year-old Robin Brown.

Halton Regional Police later found Keira and her father dead at the bottom of a steep escarpment in the Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area in Milton.

A coroner found the two had injuries consistent with a fall and referred the incident to the Domestic Violence Death Review Committee for a probe.

Jennifer Viater, Keira’s mother, believed to be a murder-suicide tied to court motions citing abusive behavior. She was seeking to limit her ex-husband’s access to their daughter.

Despite finding evidence against Brown as “persuasive and compelling,” a judge said it was “not urgent” enough to prohibit contact with Keira.

“It means a lot to us that we know that this has been successful and that … we’ve now solidified Keira’s legacy in Canada as a beacon of protection and safety for others,” Viater said in a presser on Wednesday hours after the bill passed.

Dhillon said she was “grateful and pleased” for the support from Parliament, the Senate and stakeholders across Canada for the legislation.

“The message is clear, we all agree that more needs to be done to protect women and their children who are also victims of domestic violence,” Dhillon remarked.

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The bill will now seek royal assurance and is expected to come into effect 30 days following the process.

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