Editorial Exchange: Editorial: Ottawa's Strong Signal on Intimate Partner Violence

By Record, Waterloo Region | The Canadian Press, April 4, 2018 | Go to article overview

Editorial Exchange: Editorial: Ottawa's Strong Signal on Intimate Partner Violence


Record, Waterloo Region, The Canadian Press


Editorial Exchange: Editorial: Ottawa's strong signal on intimate partner violence

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An editorial from the Waterloo Region Record, published April 3:

When it comes to intimate partner violence, Canada's laws are behind reality. The result is too often that abuse victims are re-victimized by their abusers and the system. Cases move too slowly to be effective. In too many areas, the law simply doesn't reflect what is really happening.

So it is good news that the federal government is moving assertively to update the law, under the auspices of Bill C-75, introduced to Parliament last week. And it's even better news that the changes are being lauded by lawyers, experts and academics, who agree they will make courts more nimble, and also make some progress toward addressing the backlog slowing down courtrooms across the nation.

Here's a key example of how the changes will better reflect reality. It is common knowledge that accused abusers, if they are granted bail, reoffend at a much higher rate than people charged with other crimes. Court-imposed restraining orders are often ineffective. There is ample research to back this up. So the new law will levy a reverse onus on repeat abusers -- they will have to make a successful case as to why they should be released, instead of the Crown making the case for why they should not be released on bail.

Prof. Elizabeth Sheehy, a University of Ottawa expert on the subject, put it this way in a report from the Globe and Mail: "The reform thus reflects what we know about this group of offenders and does not prohibit bail, but rather raises the bar and demands a searching inquiry into the risk presented to a domestic partner by the accused person. …

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