Military domestic violence: Should the Canadian Forces be doing more for military families?



Families reunite in Petawawa, Ont., after troops return from Afghanistan. Transitioning from the field to back home is a struggle for many soldiers. (CBC)

By CBC News

A CBC News investigation has found a disturbing rise in domestic violence among soldiers returning from deployment in Afghanistan.

Domestic violence on Canadian military bases has climbed steadily in recent years, coinciding with the return of soldiers who bring home physical and psychological battle wounds.

Military police documented the trend in a 2008 report that was not released, but that CBC News has obtained through Access to Information.

In the report, the independent police service notes a five-fold jump in reported cases of domestic violence after Operation Athena, when Canada's role in Afghanistan changed and troops experienced ongoing casualties.

Recommendations included reviewing psychological services for soldiers and their families. But the study was shelved.

Psychology experts believe the rise in domestic violence is directly linked to physical and emotional trauma suffered by soldiers in Afghanistan, especially post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

The Canadian Forces say although that may be possible, there isn't any concrete proof the two are linked.



The Canadian Forces claim that "there isn't any concrete proof the two are linked" is a "justification" for failing to support our troops in their time of need AFTER they return.

Only a madman would suggest that anyone who is exposed to many months of separation from family and normal life, while exposed to constant death, killing terror and destruction would not be affected.

Watching other human beings suffer and die is a traumatic experience, to claim that there is no effect from such exposure defies reality.

Of course anyone who goes through such experiences will never be the same again and its a risk and knowledge our troops know about before they leave and they rightly expect appropriate support when they return.

The official government line is , well he or she is able bodied so they is no reason why they can't be normal. The government wishes to blow the problem away with the typical total taboo on the subject of mental health which unfortunately, the vast majority of the population know next to nothing about.

It's time the government, the political leaders of all parties say that "enough is enough", its time to listen to the experts and follow their advice because the vast majority of the population, including our gutless political leaders, have no knowledge or experience or qualifications that make them experts in mental health and they , have no business of playing god with those who suffer, suffer though no fault of their own, the results of the government's blindness to the effects of having been constantly exposed, often for repeated tours, of death, terror and destruction.

What we have is a problem of abuse, the Government's abuse of its fiduciary responsibilities.