Victoria — From Monday's Globe and Mail Last updated on Monday, Sep. 28, 2009 02:16AM EDT
And a pilot project in Langley that was held up as the province's model for preventing domestic homicides is now dormant.
Both programs were highlighted during a coroner's inquest last year as examples of how the province is improving the way the criminal justice system responds to domestic violence.
Now, as Premier Gordon Campbell prepares to sit down in the next few weeks with the government's watchdog for children, he faces some tough questions about these and other cuts to the programs designed to protect at-risk women and children.
Last week, the province's Representative for Children and Youth released a report on the death of six-year-old Christian Lee, who was murdered, along with his mother and grandparents, by his father in September, 2007. Peter Lee had been under a restraining order and his estranged wife, Sunny Park, had told lawyers, police and social workers of her fears that he would kill her or harm her son.
Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, who serves as the province's watchdog for children and families, concluded in her report the province failed to protect the little boy because of a fractured and incoherent system of support.
Her report came in the middle of a week where cuts to various groups providing front-line services to victims of domestic violence have been in the headlines.
Mr. Campbell said Friday his government has increased funding for domestic-violence programs this year by $2.4-million. “We felt the best thing to do was to work with families, work with an integrated response, to do everything we can not just to deal with it but eliminate [domestic violence] from our society.”
But service providers say they are shouldering cuts of $1.2-million that will result in fewer services and longer waitlists.
Ms. Turpel-Lafond said in an interview the latest cuts run contrary to the changes her report says are desperately needed.
“The Langley pilot project is exactly what I've recommended,” she said. “It is essential and it is needed, it must be province-wide.”
The project gave police training in investigating and assessing risk in domestic-violence cases. It was led by Jocelyn Coupal, a respected Crown prosecutor who has served since 2007 as the province's Domestic-Violence Resource Counsel.
“This is the type of expertise we need to develop across British Columbia,” Ms. Turpel-Lafond said.
Ms. Coupal's specialized position ended this month when she was told to return to her previous general court duties. The results of the pilot project, which quietly wrapped up last May, are still “under review,” according to a ministry official.
“The decision to realign Crown counsel on secondment to special projects was due in part to accommodating budget pressures,” said Neil McKenzie, a spokesman for the criminal justice branch. He said the pilot project ended as scheduled after six months and no decision has been taken on future training programs. Langley RCMP Inspector Richard Konarski said the preliminary results show the pilot project was a success. Conviction rates increased and victims were less likely to recant their testimony because they were offered strong advocacy services and court proceedings were fast-tracked.
“We began with the commitment to do it for six months. In my fantasy world, we'd keep going, but I appreciate the attorney-general's branch has a bunch of things they have to do,” Insp. Konarski said in an interview.
“I think we are all in agreement, there is a huge upside to working in a very collaborative, supportive fashion around the victim.”
Next week, the province's record on domestic violence will be in the spotlight again as the Kamloops trial of Allan Dwayne Schoenborn gets under way.
Mr. Schoenborn faces three first-degree murder charges in the deaths of his young children. He had already violated a protection order in place for the children's mother and, like Mr. Lee, was out on bail when the children were killed.
Commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre
Fact is, women initiate more violence than men, most men will not report
violence because its "laughed at". Governments adopt a two faced, double
standard that can only be described as Male Sharia Law, Male Gender Apartheid.
A "special prosecutor" means, in their language, a person to enforce and promote, hatred towards men.
Its a flawed social policy that promotes hatred towards men who are "trapped" in abusive relationships, They can't leave, because all she has to do is dial 911 and have him removed from the children's lives for ever.
The only solution is a legal presumption of equal parenting after separation and, adoption of the Australian approach that false claims of domestic violence have severe repercussions in family court.
Our judges , are largely feminist appointed judges, who flagrantly abuse their power to make feminist decisions that all alone distort, the official stats and create more mythical evidence to support the feminist One Stop Divorce Shops and fund a mega billion legal industry that promotes fabrication of evidence.
Mr. Harper has sold out on a Canadian Hero and subjugated a Canadian Citizen
to the laws of a foreign country for doing something that was not a criminal
offense in Canada.
Mr. Harper and the United States will earn what they deserve from this treacherous despicable act. Their actions will only make Mr. Emery a National Hero, the sort of politician who can be trusted.
More bad news, because Mr. Emery is a political enemy of the Republicans and apparently Mr. Harper, we can expect more injustice, odds are Mr. Harper will do his usual obstruction of justice and prevent Mr. Emery from having a rapid transfer to Canada.
BC like other Canadian provinces, issues "restraining orders" like confetti.
That's like the little boy crying wolf.
Restraining Orders need to be issued when there is a real need. At present, they are issued in vast quantities, with next to no evidence, and what evidence is presented is often of the most dubious nature, hearsay, even quadruple hearsay, all for no other purpose, no genuine purpose, other than to end a father's relationship with their children by, a mentally ill often extremely violent woman.
Both genders are subject to mental illness and personality disorders. Fact is, women suffer from those problems far more than men and many claim to be a victim, or express a fear of being a victim for improper purposes.
The trouble is, courts often fail to take note of serious allegations, based on real evidence and or issued restraining orders against men or women who will not take any notice of that restraining order.
Restraining orders rarely stop a dangerous person from committing an offense.
Society needs to deal with the root causes, severe personality disorders that are most often caused by dysfunctional parents.
The first step is a legal presumption of equal parenting after separation, that will largely remove incentives for fake claims.