Domestic Violence

Corporal Punishment Repeal

Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada condones corporal punishment but many organizations would like to repeal this law.

Section 43 states:

“every school teacher, parent or person standing in the place of a parent is justified in using force by way of correction toward a pupil or child, as the case may be, who is under his care, if the force does not exceed what is reasonable under the circumstances.”

Exceptions:

The act does not apply to:
1. Children under two years old and older than 12 years old;
2. Disabled children of any age;
3. The punishment cannot be “degrading, inhumane or harmful”;
4. The usage of objects such as rulers and belts is also forbidden; and the
5. Punishment cannot involve slaps/blows to the head

The Canadian Foundation for Children, Youth and the Law v. Canada case upheld this decision in 2004 in a six to three decision by the judges. Judges also argued that spanking is not a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms so long as it does not infringe on the child’s security, right to equality and is not cruel and unusual treatment or punishment. Spanking is only to be used in a trifling way as a means to correct behaviour. Thus corporal punishment is not be used to in anger or punishment but only to correct behaviour and help the child learn. However many groups are expressing their concerns regarding this law.

Despite seven failed attempts since 2005 to have this law repealed, these organizations continue to pursue the cause. Corinne’s Quest and additional organizations have the support of the Canadian Bar Association in bringing about this change. Bill – S-206 is also supported by the Canadian Medical Association but has not been passed. Supporters of the bill continue to argue that the long-term affects of corporal punishment are being ignored.

Furthermore, supporters of Bill -206 question how often corporal punishment is used within the legal boundaries. The psychological impact of repeated use of corporal punishment can be damaging to a child’s self-esteem and well-being.

Critics of the current law support their stance against corporal punishment with examples of the long-term effects suffered by Native children after being repeatedly beaten in residential schools. Opponents also argue that corporal punishment is outdated as science has provided parents with different techniques to teach children without the use of corporal punishment.

Did you learn something new? Do you support the new law? If so, press like and subscribe!

Points of Discussion:
1. Do you think the corporal punishment law should be repealed?

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Tackling Sexual Assault

awarenessSexual assault impacts 1 in 3 women in Canada. Women under the age of 35 are 5 times more likely to be victims of sexual violence than their counterparts. Sexual violence  impacts many aspects of a victim’s life and the Liberal government wants to address this concern with their new legislation. The legislation was proposed in late October and aims to assist victims in various circumstances including: their homes, schools, work and the justice system.

Arguably, the biggest change will occur in the legal realm. Courts will be asked to remove any limitation periods for civil proceedings founded on sexual assault or misconduct. Thus limitation periods to bring civil action would be removed. Furthermore, survivors of sexual and domestic violence will also be permitted to make applications to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board without time constraints.

Every_Canadian_Needs_A_CopyIn respect to work, employers will be liable to improve their sexual harassment prevention programs and conduct “appropriate investigations” of complaints. If a complainant feels the employer has failed to conduct an appropriate investigation they can take legal action against the employer.

Currently, the Occupational Health and Safety Act vaguely addresses sexual harassment as:

“Engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace because of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, where the course of comment or conduct is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome.”

The Liberal government aims to define sexual harassment in a manner that will outline consent and unacceptable behavior.

At this moment in time, most postsecondary institutions merely state that sexual violence will not be tolerated and will be handled in accordance to the Criminal Code of Canada. The proposed legislation  would require post-secondary institutions and private career colleges to create individual policies addressing sexual violence. The policies will be reviewed every three years with student input.

Finally, tenants will be permitted to exit a lease due to sexual or domestic violence in 28 days rather than the current 60 days limitation period. This will make it easier for victims to flee their abusers and escape financial abuse.

Activists are supporting the proposed legislation and suggesting it is long overdue while critics are concerned about the unaccounted for repercussions of such legislation.

Critics argue that allowing tenants to exit their rental leases in half the time due to sexual or domestic violence may discourage landlords from renting their spaces to women. Furthermore, some individuals are concerned that this will not tackle the pre-existing stigma against victims. Todd Minerson, executive director of the White Ribbon campaign, argued that the discussion around consent needs to continue as some men do not understand what consent entails. Hence, some feel that the proposed legislation is not enough.

Did you learn something new? If so, then press “like” and subscribe!

Points of Discussion:

1. How do you feel about the new proposed legislation?

2. What additions would you like to make to the new legislation?

Judge Reviewed For Insensitive Comments to Sexual Assault Victim

sexual assaultRobin Camp, a court judge in Calgary, is now being reviewed by the Canadian Judicial Council for his insensitive and condescending behaviour during a 19 year old homeless woman’s testimony of her sexual assault. The victims’ abuser, Alexander Scott Wagar, was acquitted of the charges. This decision was appealed and overturned by the Alberta Court of Appeal. The judge who presided over the case in appeal court has serious concerns regarding how Robin Camp had handled the case and addressed the victim.

What exactly was said?

Judge Robin Camp made comments to the victim suggesting that she could have prevented the assault. Some of his comments included:  “Why didn’t you just sink your bottom down into the basin so he couldn’t penetrate you?” and “Why couldn’t you just keep your knees together?”

He also argued and she had failed to explain “Why she allowed the sex to happen if she didn’t want it?” He then continued on to inform her that asking if the accused had a condom implied “an inescapable conclusion (that) if you have one I’m happy to have sex with you.”

The above-noted comments not only encourage victim-blaming but also discourage victims from seeking justice. Many victims fear persecution by judges and often do not want to proceed with a case due to publicity. Although the victims name may not be released, the accused person’s name is released. Thus, if the accused is a relative, spouse, significant other or family member often people who know the accused can often figure out who the victim is. This in return deters victims from proceeding with legal action beyond mediation and settlements due to their fear of stigma and victim-blaming.

Since the decision was overturned, Judge Camp is now undergoing gender sensitivity training and is forbidden to preside over similar cases. He has since then apologized to the court and to women for his comments.

How prevalent is sexual assault?

A quick overview of Canadian statistics suggests that sexual assault is far more common than most individuals may suspect. These statistics are based on victims who come forward with their assaults but the numbers are likely much higher as most victims do not come forward with their story.awareness

  • Of every 100 incidents of sexual assault, only 6 are reported to the police
  •  1 – 2% of “date rape” sexual assaults are reported to the police
  •  1 in 4 North American women will be sexually assaulted during their lifetime
  • 11% of women have physical injury resulting
  • 60% of sexual abuse/assault victims are under the age of 17
  • Over 80% of sex crime victims are women
  • 17% of girls under 16 have experienced some form of incest
  • 83% of disabled women will be sexual assaulted during their lifetime
  • 15% of sexual assault victims are boys under 16
  • half of all sexual offenders are married or in long term relationships
  • 57% of aboriginal women have been sexually abused
  • 1/5th of all sexual assaults involve a weapon of some sort
  • 80% of assailants are friends and family of the victim
  • 80% of sexual assault incidents occur in the home

Did any of these statistics surprise or alarm you? If so, press “like” and follow TSP for similar information.

Points of Discussion:

1. How do you feel about how the Judge Camp handled the case?

2. How do you feel about the disciplinary action taken against Judge Camp?

If You Knew..

awarenessThe Social Paralegal has taken on another project to help address the prevelant issue of domestic violence. Many individuals are unaware that domestic violence includes:

1. Physical Abuse
2. Verbal Abuse
3. Sexual Abuse
4. Financial Abuse
5. Spiritual Abuse
6. Stalking and
7. Harassment

If 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men are impacted by domestic violence in Canada, then why is it so difficult for us to discuss it? Victims often fear judgement, shame and stigma. Consequently, victims choose to remain silent which in return allows the violence to continue. Victims discourage themselves from sharing their situations with comments such as “people won’t understand” but what if victims and survivors could help others understand?

Objective

1. This website allows victims and survivors of domestic violence to voice what they wish others knew about them and their situations. Topics ranging from insensitive comments to empowerment are addressed and discussed to raise awareness and encourage self-education.

2. It also allows others to pose questions for victims and survivors of domestic violence to answer.

Every participant remains anonymous. Participants can create alias usernames on WordPress to conceal their identity.

Do you want to learn more about dometic violence? Are you interested in doing your part to make a positive difference from the comfort of your home?

Do you want to help others understand your experiences as a victim or survivor of domestic violence?

Do you want to better understand what domestic violence victims live with?

Then this website is for you.

https://ifyouknewsite.wordpress.com/category/help-me-understand/

Make sure you subscribe.

I hope TSP followers will show just as much support and love for If You Knew as they have for TSP.

Thank you in advance!

Criminal Injuries Compensation Board: Are You Entitled to Compensation?

Criminal Injuries Compensation Board

The board’s primary function is to provide financial compensation for those who qualify under the Compensation for Victims of Crimes Act. Individuals who may be compensated under this legislation include victims of violent crimes and family members of deceased victims who died as a result of a violent crime.

What can you be compensated for?

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Board will pay for: the treatment expenses, travel to treatment expenses, loss counselling expenses, loss of financial support for the dependents of a deceased victim and costs associated with supporting a child born as a result of rape.

How does the board evaluate cases? The Criminal Injuries Compensation Board evaluates cases based on evidence prior to commencing a hearing. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Board also allows for written submissions if the victims’ application demonstrates adequate evidence for compensation. If the application displays a straight forward case and meets the required criteria for compensation, then an oral hearing can be avoided.

What evidence is required? The Criminal Injuries Compensation Board requires various pieces of evidence when making a decision including; original receipts and supporting documents of injury, a written statement from the police regarding the event, documents concerning the verdict of the criminal trial and reports from the victims treatment providers. Furthermore, electronic hearings are also permissible and usually encouraged if separation of parties is best.

Appeals

The appeal process for the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board insists that the decision be made by two or more adjudicators in order for an appeal. The appeal can only be based on a point of law not the compensation sum. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Board informs clients to pursue the appeal by following the procedures outlined in the Divisional Courts website.

Part 5: Domestic Violence: When The Police Officers Hands Are Tied

1. What’s the most challenging part for you as a police officer that wants to help?

Answer:  One of the most challenging aspects of dealing with domestic incidents is the victim’s unwillingness to cooperate.  Victims sometimes try to dictate the police officer’s actions for instance, “I want him to go to jail” or to just “intimidate” the abuser and then leave. Victims also sometimes ask police officers to do things that are out of their scope.  Police officers can lay charges but we do not make the final decisions as that’s the courts role.

Another factor is language barriers.  It can be difficult to communicate with the victim and consequently, we cannot take a statement.

Sometimes the victims wish that they could make the whole thing disappear but there is no turning back once the charges are laid on the abuser. The victim’s want to take back their statements and argue that it was a one-time incident; however, we do not have the discretion to drop the charge that is the prosecutors’ choice. As officers we must follow protocol and abide by the provincial and federal mandates. We have to be mentally prepared to go into homes and potentially separate family members.

Victim’s unwillingness to move out of abusive relationship is another factor. There have been times when we have been to the same house multiple times for domestic related calls between the exact same people. We don’t dictate people’s lives. It is their decision and choice. 

2. Why would victims not cooperate?

Answer:

a. Sometimes victims do not realize that the police have to make an arrest if there has been a criminal offence.   Police officers can’t just come in and speak the abuser and leave. Many victims ask for the police officers to “scare” the abuser and leave but when informed that police officers cannot just leave they choose not to cooperate.

b. The abuser is the earning member of the family. When the “breadwinner” is arrested the victim fears that the family may fall apart; hence, they do not cooperate.

c. Continuing interaction despite order of no contact. In this scenario, the abuser has conditions not to contact the victim but they continue to interact, live together and act as a couple. Although the victim has the upper hand because she/he can call the police for breach of conditions if the abuser retaliates/becomes abusive again we cannot do much if they choose to live together. We can arrest the abuser for breaching his conditions.

d. New immigrants lack the knowledge of legal procedures. In this case, victims that are new immigrants are really scared because they are not knowledgeable about the justice procedures and are afraid that they may be deported.   Some immigrants also assume that corrupt procedures from their native land also apply in Canada. Consequently, immigrants hesitate to cooperate with police.

e. Victims are threatened by their abusers. Abusers often threaten the victim further with harsher abuse, even death, if the victim attempts to seek help.

Part 6: Domestic Violence – What Are Some Challenges for Police Officers?

Part 4 – What’s the challenging part for you?

1. What’s the most challenging part for you as a police officer that wants to help? One of the most challenging aspects of dealing with domestic incidents is the victim’s unwillingness to cooperate. 

Victims sometimes try to dictate the police officer’s actions for instance, “I want him to go to jail” or to just “intimidate” the abuser and then leave. Victims also sometimes ask police officers to do things that are out of their scope.  Police officers can lay charges but we do not make the final decisions as that’s the courts role.

Another factor is language barriers.  It can be difficult to communicate with the victim and consequently, we cannot take a statement. Sometimes the victims wish that they could make the whole thing disappear but there is no turning back once the charges are laid on the abuser. The victim’s want to take back their statements and argue that it was a one-time incident; however, we do not have the discretion to drop the charge that is the prosecutors’ choice. As officers we must follow protocol and abide by the provincial and federal mandates. We have to be mentally prepared to go into homes and potentially separate family members.

Victim’s unwillingness to move out of abusive relationship is another factor. There have been times when we have been to the same house multiple times for domestic related calls between the exact same people. We don’t dictate people’s lives. It is their decision and choice.