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Keira's Law: The Crucial Step Towards Protecting Survivors of Domestic Violence

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Keira's Law is named after Keira Kagan, a four-year-old girl who was found dead in a believed murder-suicide act by her father, Robin Brown, at the base of a cliff in Milton, ON.

The death of Keira Kagen occurred no less than two weeks after being ordered into the father’s

unsupervised care. However, there were many apparent warning indicators of her father’s increasing abusive and controlling behaviour.

Throughout her family law matter, Keira’s Mother, Jennifer Kagan-Viater, raised the issue of the abuse she was subjected to by her husband repeatedly and out of concern for her daughter, Ms. Kagen-Viater, sought on multiple occasions to have Mr. Brown’s contact with Kiera limited. However, Mr. Brown, on every occasion was given extensive and unsupervised parenting time despite considerable evidence of severe abuse being found.

On April 27, 2023, a law known as "Keira's Law" was passed, receiving royal assent and officially becoming law on May 27, 2023. The purpose of this law is to ensure judges receive education regarding domestic violence and coercive control in intimate partner and family relationships. Its main focus is on judges who handle cases involving domestic violence, coercive control, and the consideration of risk factors.

The Bill contains the following changes:

Amendment of the Judges Act

All provincially appointed judges and justices of the peace are now required to be educated

(through seminars) and trained in intimate partner violence and coercive control.

Amendment of the Criminal Code

Electronic monitoring devices in intimate partner violence cases.

Before making a release order regarding an accused who is charged with an offence against their intimate partner, a Justice is now to consider whether it is necessary, in the interests of the safety and security of any person, to include as a condition of the order that the accused wear an electronic monitoring device.

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