The Current

'Go for it,' says father of slain U.K. woman on Sask.'s proposed domestic violence law

Saskatchewan could become the first province to adopt its own version of the Clare's Law, allowing police to inform people of their partner's criminal history if they are seen to be at risk.

Saskatchewan poised to become 1st province to adopt own version of Clare’s Law

Michael Brown, the father of murdered Clare Wood, says Clare's Law will afford partners extra protection. (Dominic Lipinski/PA Images/Getty Images)

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Michael Brown says he felt "an instant dislike" when he met his 36-year-old daughter Clare Wood's boyfriend, George Appleton.

Although neither Brown or Wood knew it at the time, Appleton had a criminal record that included time in prison for holding a woman at knifepoint for several hours.

Wood and Appleton were together for 15 months before she ended their relationship. But when Appleton "couldn't take no for an answer," and began harassing her, she repeatedly called police for help. Despite several arrests, Appleton was released. He murdered Wood in Feb. 2009, taking his own life a few days later.

Brown was leaving work one day when he got the news.

"My world just went blank," he told The Current's  Anna Maria Tremonti.

Clare Wood, 36, was murdered by her ex-boyfriend who had a violent past. (Manchester Greater Police)

After his daughter's death, Brown pushed for a change in the law, resulting in the U.K. adopting The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, or Clare's Law, in 2014. It allows police to inform people of their partner's criminal history if they are seen to be at risk.

Saskatchewan — which has one of the highest rates of domestic violence in Canada — could become the first Canadian province to adopt the same practice. Justice Minister Don Morgan introduced the Interpersonal Violence Disclosure Protocol (Clare's Law) Act on Nov. 5.

Brown's advice for policymakers in Saskatchewan is to "go for it."

"If they have a mother, a daughter, a son, it doesn't really matter," Brown said. "Until such time as they give them the extra protection of Clare's Law, they will have them in harm's way."

To discuss the law and whether it could be implemented across Canada, Tremonti spoke to:

  • Marlo Pritchard, police chief in Weyburn, Sask., and president of the Saskatchewan Association of Chiefs of Police. 
  • Jo-Anne Dusel, executive director of the Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services of Saskatchewan.

Click 'listen' near the top of this page to hear the full conversation.

With files from CBC News. Produced by Winnipeg network producer Suzanne Dufresne, and The Current's Julie Crysler.