abuse

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Despite seven failed attempts since 2005 to have this law repealed, these organizations continue to pursue the cause.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 Opponents also argue that corporal punishment is outdated as science has provided parents with different techniques to teach children without the use of corporal punishment.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?

Advertisements

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!

Aboriginal Women Targeted By Police Officers

abVal d’Or is known for its longstanding history with aboriginal communities including the Algonquin and Cree tribes but not without conflict. Aboriginals have protested against how the police force treats their women for years and are now finally being heard.

Countless aboriginal women have stated that Sûreté du Québec officers have assaulted or punished women for being intoxicated by driving them out of town and abandoning them in the cold.  Police brutality towards aboriginal women was no surprise to many Quebecers but the presence of sexual abuse was shocking.

Many aboriginal women have stated that police officers would occasionally request the women to perform oral sex. Refusing to follow through would often result in agonizing repercussions. According to the women, the authorities were well aware of these complaints before they went public but chose to ignore them. Will this time be different?

Quebec’s public security minister stated that eight Sûreté du Québec officers were suspended due to 14 complaints of abuse of power and assault in a news conference. The officers are presumed innocent until proven guilty based on substantial evidence to support the claims made by the aboriginal women. Since the initial story was released additional aboriginal women have shared their own parallel accounts of sexual violence inflicted by the police force.

Retired judge Lawrence Poitras supports the concern expressed by aboriginal women when he stated “officers accused of abuse often retaliate with criminal charges against the accusers in order to cover their tracks.” – CBC article http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/val-dor-cameras-1.3290119

The Montreal police force is now responsible for overseeing the investigation. The aim is to prevent the SQ from overseeing the investigation and protecting its officers. Furthermore, Pierre Veilleux, the president of the Quebec provincial police union (APPQ), shared with CBC that the force is aiming to place cameras in cruisers beginning December to assess the severity of the situation.

Politicians are raising concerns about how prevalent this abuse of power might be in other parts of Quebec with aboriginal communities. Many politicians have also suggested the need for a provincial investigation to ensure that the protection of vulnerable members of the community.  Advocates have stated that a victim’s background including drug addictions and prostitution do not justify the abuse of power displayed by the officers.

Abuse of power results in a lack of trust in authorities and often results in rebellion; for example, many individuals are protesting against the abuse of power in the streets of Quebec. Furthermore, some aboriginals chose not to attend work as a form of protest.

If these allegations are proven true then one must question where aboriginals are to turn to seek justice if the authority that is supposed to provide them protection is exploiting them? Consequently, many officers are perturbed by the abuse of power and even angered by the lack of respect these officers displayed for their positions of power.

Is this news to you? Did you hear about this on TSP first? Did you learn something new? Did you like this piece? If so, press like and subscribe!

Help TSP reach 100 subscribers on WordPress by subscribing today!

Share your thoughts below.

Would You Report Child Neglect If There Was A Chance of Being Sued?

imagesDaycare owner Tammy Larabies suspected that one of her students was being neglected at home. To address the issue she took the matter to Children’s Aid Society. She was then presented with a $10,000 lawsuit from the parents for “emotional distress”. The parents of the child successfully won the $10,000 lawsuit and were awarded costs. This decision may become a precedent case.

The small claims judge found that Tammy did not have “reasonable grounds” to suspect neglect. The judge found that Tammy had overreacted and should have had evidence before calling the Children’s Aid Society. Consequently, Tammy is no longer employed at the daycare, in addition to a $10,000 lawsuit and having to award the parents costs for the action.

Conversely, the CAS found there to be enough evidence to warrant an investigation. Tammy was fearful that the child was malnourished as a result of his parents following a restrictive diet. The child would sleep up to six hours a day under her supervision which led her to believe he was “failing to thrive”. Tammy was alarmed about the child’s condition after learning about a different child dying in his home due to malnourishment.

Contrary to the judge, Mary Ballantyne of the Ontario Association of children’s Aid Societies explained that: “The Child and Family Services Act…is very clear that people in the community have a specific responsibility to report concerns that they have about a child”.

So who is right?

This particular case is rather tough to assess. Although Tammy had no malice or negative intentions, she could’ve collected more evidence before taking action. I also understand that sometimes waiting too long can be detrimental to the child’s health; I assume Tammy was just looking out for the best interest of the child by taking quick action.  However, legally, the judge is correct that a false claim can be extremely distressing for parents.

Alternative scenarios:

Perhaps the parents could’ve handled the matter differently, in a less harsh manner as they knew that the daycare owner had their child’s best interest at heart. After all, that’s the type of person you would want taking care of your child. Alternatively, perhaps the CAS could’ve handled the matter in a method that was “less distressing” for the parents.

My Concerns:

If this case becomes a precedent case, it may deter daycare owners from reporting possible cases of neglect. I believe that daycare owners shouldn’t have to worry about a lawsuit for reporting a case of neglect. If daycare owners are not reporting possible cases of abuse, then it is turning a blind eye to the needs of the child and the responsibility of adults to protect the vulnerable individuals in our society. I believe it is important as parents to empower the people that are taking care of our children rather than persecute them and frighten them. If the matter is assessed in terms of legal terms, the judge is often tied down to letter of the law.

Conversely, I do stand by the point of avoiding fraudulent claims of abuse and frivolous cases.  I understand the emotional distress parents endure when the possibility of losing their child becomes a reality. However, if the evidence is substantial enough for the CAS to initiate an investigation, then one would assume there was a reasonable concern to take action. I also understand the parents would have concern about being labelled as bad parents, their image in society and be offended for being accused of being negligent parents. These sentiments are not to be ignored or undervalued.

How would you proceed if you were the parents of the child? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

*Reminder* Small claims court is within the scope of paralegal practice. If you would like to make a claim for a matter that is $25,000 or less, a licensed paralegal can represent you.

Did you learn something new? Like this post? Don’t forget to press “like” and follow!

The Social Paralegal https://www.facebook.com/thesocialparalegal

Twitter @SocialParalegal

Instagram the_social_paralegal LinkedIn The Social Paralegal
http://www.citynews.ca/2015/03/24/exclusive-home-daycare-owner-sued-after-reporting-case-of-suspected-neglect/

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.