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An essay on domestic violence in canada

We need a comprehensive, integrated strategy. Indigenous women are killed by their intimate partners at a rate eight times higher.

Criminal Laws Alone Can

In Peel Toronto alone, five women were killed in January 2018 — the same number of intimate femicides in Peel for all of 2017. Domestic violence is a national crisis. The federal government's Bill C-75, introduced last week, proposes changes to the criminal law response to domestic violence.

Addressing Domestic Violence Against Women: An Unfinished Agenda

But the bill will do too little, too late. What we need is a comprehensive, integrated strategy to prevent and respond to domestic violence, and resources to support women extricating themselves from violent relationships. Bill C-75 reverses the onus for bail.

  • Domestic violence against women is not merely a domestic issue; but, rather a complex socio-economical crisis that threatens the interconnected equilibrium of the entire social structure;
  • Domestic Violence as a Health Issue The World Health Organization defines health as "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity" In the Health of Women;
  • The Missing Agenda, Westview Press, 1993 8;
  • Historically, women have been treated more as belongings than human beings; Old English Common Law permitted a man to abuse his wife and kids, as long as he didn't use a stick thicker than the width of his thumb--"Rule of Thumb" The Living Family, 201;
  • Quantifying psychological abuse is extremely difficult, and very few studies have been conducted to establish prevalence rates of this type of violence.

A person charged with an offence involving violence against an intimate partner, who has a record of such offences, will now have to show cause why they should not be held in custody.

This provision is justified by an essay on domestic violence in canada fact that half of domestic violence offenders breach bail and half of these involve assault, criminal harassment and sometimes even murder. This provision is narrow, however, and will not apply to those who lack a criminal record for domestic violence, including convicted persons who received absolute or conditional discharges.

Bill C-75 would render assaults involving strangulation a more serious level of assault, equivalent to assault causing bodily harm. Strangulation raises the risk of intimate femicide seven-fold and is thus a significant warning sign. The provision relieves the prosecutor of the burden of proving bodily harm, which is not always detectible in spite of the serious risk to life that strangulation poses.

The bill takes some positive steps but continues the piecemeal approach to domestic violence by government. The bill would also expand the sentencing provision that requires judges to treat as aggravating the fact that domestic violence was committed against a spouse, to include dating partners as well as former partners.

This is particularly important given that women are at greatest risk of lethal violence when they leave a relationship.

Amber Heard Writes Emotional Essay On Domestic Violence: ‘I Resented The Label Of Victim’

Bill C-75 would allow a court to raise a maximum sentence for a domestic violence crime for someone with a record of such offences. Unfortunately, this reform misses the boat. Canada does not have a problem of low maximum sentences constraining judges who want to sentence men harshly. In fact, maximum sentences are rarely imposed for domestic violence. Further, given the prevalence of systemic discrimination, there is a serious risk that this provision will be applied disproportionately to Indigenous and other marginalized persons.

In all, the bill takes some positive steps but continues the piecemeal approach to domestic violence by government. Criminal law alone cannot prevent domestic violence: And some aspects of the bill may be punitive to women who resist domestic violence with violence. So what else should be done?

What women urgently need are resources, such as safe housing, social welfare, and legal advice to escape violence and navigate the criminal justice system.

They need the family court and child protection systems to "see" the violence and coercive control that places them at risk. And they need the police to respond effectively to keep violent men away from them. New Zealand's Family Violence Death Review Committee has undertaken a major study of its "family violence systems," of which criminal law is only one.

  • Just as in rape, the key issue is control;
  • Historically, women have been treated more as belongings than human beings; Old English Common Law permitted a man to abuse his wife and kids, as long as he didn't use a stick thicker than the width of his thumb--"Rule of Thumb" The Living Family, 201.

The social welfare, health, child welfare, housing, education and family law systems all intersect. The Committee has worked with representatives of these systems to develop an integrated family violence safety system.

Canada could learn from New Zealand. More blogs from HuffPost Canada: