In a first for the Canadian justice system, a new initiative in Ontario aimed at minimizing the hardships for families in crisis is merging some family court and domestic violence cases.
The Integrated Domestic Violence Court will serve people who are dealing with family court issues as well as criminal charges related to domestic abuse. It will run on a pilot project basis in one Toronto courthouse with an eye to expanding in the province if it’s deemed a success. In the works for a year and a half, the court heard its first case Friday.
The province, the judiciary and the many community organizations involved in establishing the court hope it will resolve such difficult issues faster, with less conflict and more affordably with a one-case, one-judge approach.
“We think that that will lead to a more integrated, holistic approach, a greater understanding of what the issues are in the family, more consistent orders,” said Peter Griffiths, the associate chief justice of the Ontario Court of Justice.
In the existing system, families dealing both with issues in family court and with a domestic-violence-related charge must navigate two different processes, going at different speeds and with the potential for conflicting orders. If one spouse is charged with domestic violence and the other is seeking custody of children, for example, the two courts could be issuing conflicting orders.
“It can create havoc in the family,” Judge Griffiths said. “The emphasis in this court really is on a more mediated, less adversarial system.”
It can be quite onerous on anyone, let alone the victim of a domestic assault, to have to be involved with two completely separate court cases, said family lawyer Lauren Israel, who was on the project’s advisory committee.
“The clients that this court will be servicing are under tremendous emotional stress and I think that trying to … minimize the stress involved in the process will benefit everybody,” she said.
Attorney-General Chris Bentley said the court is largely aimed at helping women, who are overwhelmingly the victims of domestic violence, but will also benefit children and the family unit as a whole.
“You want to hold offenders accountable for what they’ve done,” he said in an interview. “You want to safeguard victims and families from any future harm, but you also want to resolve the issues that are outstanding as effectively as you can so that families can get on with the future.”
As someone who works with women who are victims of domestic violence, Lisa Manuel said the court is “well overdue.”
“The concept of an integrated court is wonderful because that really meets the needs of women,” said Ms. Manuel, the director of the family violence program at Family Service Toronto.
It can be a challenge to physically navigate between the two courts because in some cities they’re not even in the same building, let alone trying to deal with the stress of such situations, she said.
Ms. Manuel said she has heard of instances where, to comply with both a custody order and a restraining order, one parent takes a child to a parking lot and the other parent is waiting at the far end. The child then has to walk from one end to the other so neither of the orders are violated, she said.
The court, which will be held in the courthouse at 311 Jarvis St. in Toronto, is thought to be unique in Canada and was developed based on a model in place in New York. It will also have a community resource worker who can connect families to services that address the issues that brought them to court in the first place.
Participation in the court is voluntary and it is not a trial court. So if the person charged with domestic violence wants to go to trial instead of pleading guilty, that case would be sent back to criminal court.
In the early stages, cases will be heard in the court every other Friday. Divorce and family property cases will still be heard in Superior Court.
The first thing the Family Courts have to do is GET RID of the Judges on
those benches who have absolutely no knowledge of Family Court, Rules, Laws or
actually doing what is in the best interest of a broken family. The 2nd thing
the Family Courts have to do is get rid of the OCL, Office of the Children's
Lawyer. That in itself is a waste of money on the taxpayers and the parents in
this city who don't need their kids having lawyers but need the courts to
enforce both parents do what is in the best interest of their children.
The Family Courts in Ontario are a joke. The only people coming out of those rooms with any kind of success are the stupid lawyers in this town who would rather stuff their pockets and reek havoc on families who are already emotionally and financially broken.
Stop talking the talk and walk the walk.
The list goes on and on.
Your points are valid but need clarifying.
First, we are fortunate to have some judges who bring a wealth of experience and objectivity to Family Law.
The problem is, those who are attracted to the Judiciary are generally at least sociopaths, political monsters with a borderline personality or at worst, psychopaths willing to do what ever it takes to leave a trail of destruction.
There are virtually NO LEGAL RIGHTS FOR MEN. Most of the time its the "underbelly of the judiciary" who get to hear the cases and make the decisions. Rarely is it an objective judge, normally is one of the lowest forms of life, a professional child abuser.
The OCL employs, "feminist lawyers", the dregs of the barrel of the legal profession, the utter incompetent and those with a pathological hatred of men, who can't work in private practice because they can't get referrals and or can't run a business.
Its that kind of low lifes of the legal profession who work for the OCL, they often also work for FRO so you have feminist supervision to get rid of any lawyer who might be objective.
The OCL's role is to create a document that is a complete regurgitation of the mother's view and to give the mother what ever she wants regardless of the evidence.
The solution is, "A Legal Presumption of Equal Parenting", an End to Debtor's prisons, an overhaul of the child support guidlines that make no allowance for the cost of parenting for both parents regardless of the ratio of parenting time, and a Real Authority to police the low life underbelly of the judiciary who most likely will end up in the Integrated Domestic Violence Court.
It will be very interesting to see those decisions, IF they ever get published.
Odds are this IDVC will just be a fast production line of putting Father's seeking access to fathers in jail on trumped up criminal charges and support orders.
This court is a Feminist creation, of feminist concepts of feminist
indoctrination run by judges who are indoctrinated in the classic feminist views
that deprive men of any legal rights.
Let's get it right.
Domestic ABUSE is the problem, not domestic "violence", Domestic Abuse can be "domestic slavery", it can be "shouting in the ears", constant put-downs, never ending degrading comments, never ending derogatory comments about "ONE" parent by the other, (male or female)
Most of the time, across Canada, men and women are Equally violent but 90% of the charges are trumped up against men, around 75% of those are her assaulting him.
Good Point. The IDVC and the existing Family Court have become "women's
issues courts". They blindly issue orders that destroy the Rule of Law and in
some cases, the mentally ill take the law into their own hands.
When there is a Legal Presumption of Equal Parenting, and an End to Feminist Controlled corrupt family courts, it will eliminate the 100 Billion dollar fraud of Family Court. That will also provide a Rule of Law that will eliminate many reasons why some men and women kill their partner rather than go to court.
This IDVC court assumes the problem is Domestic Violence ( abuse is most of the time non violent but far more damaging).
its those false feminist assumptions that have created a Male Sharia Law where men have virtually no legal rights.
There should never have been a need for a specialist court. The Criminal
Courts could have and should have made allowances and worked in conjunction with
The problem is, Police see their role as 911 Instant custody orders, not to be changed until the status quo is established for the mother on a generally fabricated allegation.
Canada has an epidemic problem of false allegations.
Around 90% of all domestic violence charges are complete fabrications for the purposes of gaining custody to assist a mother without any evidence to support a conviction. The police law charges as a matter of feminist police that is contrary to all the fundamental principles of Justice.
its enough to make you want to puke.
Want to see the cess pool in action?
Go to 161 Elgin Street Ottawa to see the "worst of the worst" in action.
Why not just have one execution chamber at one of the court room marked Men
The corrupt family courts are killing men at a greater rate than all the traffic accidents and military deaths combined.
Spare a thought for Andy Renouf, Darrin White Wilbur Wright and the hundreds of other fathers who killed themselves unable to see their kids and with orders for support they could not pay.