Bill C-233: Keira’s Legacy
Countless survivors of intimate partner violence and family abuse require supports to navigate the family law court process. Unfortunately, they can meet several barriers to accessing those necessary supports along the way. Whether self-represented or with counsel, it can be difficult to find professionals who are properly educated in intimate partner violence and power imbalances. Recently, Keira’s Law (Bill C-233) was passed and seeks to ensure that judges continue education on matters related to intimate partner violence and coercive control in intimate partner and family relationships.
Kiera Kagan’s story tragically highlights a pattern that is too common in family courts: a mother who shares her story of abuse at the hands of her partner ends up in front of a judge who does not make the appropriate connection between intimate partner violence (IPV) and risk to children.
While amending the Judges Act, Bill C-233 also amends subsection 515 of the Criminal Code to allow a judge to consider ordering someone who has committed an offence against their intimate partner to wear an electronic monitoring device if they think the individual may pose a safety or security risk.
With ongoing education for judges on the seriousness of intimate partner violence there is hope that the enactment of this law will protect more children in the future.