Keira Kagan, found dead in Milton, wanted to change the world and ‘she will’, says mom


Published April 19, 2023 at 12:03 pm

Dr. Jennifer Kagan and husband Philip Viater talk during a press conference Tuesday night after Bill C-233, which includes Keira's Law named after Kagan's four-year-old daughter, was passed by the Canadian Senate on Tuesday night. CPAC SCREEN GRAB

Keira’s Law, named after four-year-old Keira Kagan who was killed in 2020 by her father in an apparent murder-suicide in Milton, is now one small step from becoming enshrined in Canadian law.

The Senate passed Bill C-233, which includes Keira’s Law, Tuesday night and it will now be sent to the Governor General to receive Royal Assent.

The law spearhead by Oakville North-Burlington MP and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety Pam Damoff establishes and enhances continuing education seminars for judges on matters related to intimate partner violence and coercive control and introduces electronic monitoring as an additional mechanism to help save lives.

“Keira Kagan said she wanted to change the world and she will. This important piece of legislation is a major step forward for victims of intimate partner violence and children,” said Dr. Jennifer Kagan, Keira’s mother. “By providing education to judges on intimate partner violence and coercive control, we strive to ensure that judges make decisions with child safety at the forefront. Judges must understand what intimate partner violence looks like in the modern world, and how this impacts parenting. Our hope is that there will be a cultural shift whereby judges render decisions that keep victims safe from harm.

“We hope educating judges will inspire greater public confidence that they are able and willing to protect vulnerable members of society. No other child or family should go through what Keira and our family has experienced. We have advocated for Keira’s Law in her honour and in honour of all other victims of violence.”

Keira was found dead along with her father Robin Brown, at the base of a 100-ft cliff in Rattlesnake Point Conservation in Milton.

The young girl was ordered into his care unsupervised, despite many red flags and warning signs of her father’s escalating “abusive and controlling behaviour.”

“Judicial education around domestic violence and coercive control is a critical step in dealing with the systemic problem in society when it comes to understanding intimate partner violence and coercive control and how it affects children,” said Damoff, who held a press conference with MPs Anju Dhillon and Ya’ara Saks, Senator Pierre Dalphond and Dr. Kagan and her husband Philip Viater after the Senate vote.

“It is in the best interest of everyone that judges be well informed on the topic of family violence, and that their primary focus in considering custody in such cases be the best interests of the children involved. I am thrilled to see a bi-partisan commitment in both the House and the Senate to make Keira’s Law a reality in Canada.”

MP Dhillon first introduced Bill C-233 on the second anniversary of Keira’s death.

It also introduces into the Criminal Code electronic monitoring control, in some cases at the judicial interim release phase, which is under section 515 of the Criminal Code.

This ensures, to a greater extent, the safety and security of intimate partner complainants and their children.

“Studies show that the separation of the couple often does not break the cycle of violence,” said Dhillon, an MP for Member of Parliament for Dorval—Lachine—LaSalle. “On the contrary, violent partners will often resort to acts of violence in order to resume coercive control. These actions can include harassment, threats, assault and even murder.

“These acts may be so subtle that the aggressor in many cases succeeds in portraying themselves as the victims. The actual vulnerable party ends up being perceived as the one with mental problems or as vindictive. This results in the real victim being revictimized.”

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