Supporters celebrate passing of Keira’s Law, aimed at battling domestic abuse | Canadian

Supporters of new laws aimed at educating judges about the dangers of domestic violence and coercive control gathered in Burlington, Ont., to celebrate passage of two government bills.

Local politicians and other supporters joined the parents of Keira Kagan at  Millcroft Park on Thursday afternoon to celebrate the passing of ‘Keira’s Law’ federally (Bill C-233) and in Ontario (Bill 102), both protecting children of abusive ex-partners via amendments to the judges acts.

“It’s very bittersweet, we miss Keira each and every day,” said Keira’s mother Jennifer Viater. “Every milestone that other children are celebrating like summer camps, birthday parties… it’s so unfair… I don’t have the words.”

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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 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 (DVDRC) for a probe. Viater believed it was a murder-suicide tied to court motions citing abusive behaviour. She wanted limits on 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.

Kagan’s death spurred Viater’s advocacy to expand education about domestic violence in the judicial system, learning through the DVDRC that there were risk factors in her circumstances.

“In this case, there were 22 risk factors for lethality. This should not have happened,” Viater explained. “There needs to be accountability and there needs to be change because many people are in the same situation.”

The federal bill was tabled in 2022 with support from Oakville North—Burlington Liberal MP Pam Damoff and Quebec MP Anju Dhillon.

It was passed into law by the Senate last April.

The Ontario version, spearheaded by Oakville North—Burlington MPP Effie Triantafilopoulos, would receive Royal Assent in the Ontario Legislature in early June.

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Justices are now expected to consider whether a release order for an accused is in the interests of safety and security.

Electronic monitoring devices can now also be a condition of release.

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