Justice Canada Research Report on Enhancing Safety in Domestic Violence Cases
Entitled Enhancing Safety: When Domestic Violence Cases are in Multiple Legal Systems, it was authored in 2013 by Linda C. Neilson of the University of New Brunswick for Justice Canada.
From the Executive Summary:
"The purpose of this report is to document, from a family law perspective, best practice options when domestic violence cases are making their way through multiple proceedings (criminal, civil, family, and child protection). The intention is to identify practices that can promote the safety of family members, particularly children, while also ensuring fair, due process."The Weekly Checklist includes a listing of titles made available by the Parliament of Canada, federal departments, and Statistics Canada to the Depository Services Program for distribution to a network of Depository Libraries in Canada and abroad.
"Research continues to document the legal system's failure to offer adequate support and protection to families, particularly to children, in domestic violence cases. Our legal systems were not designed with seamless, collaborative responses to domestic violence in mind. In fact, as a result of structural divisions that separate criminal, family and child protection matters, our legal systems sometimes work at cross purposes, wasting scarce therapeutic and community resources. Numerous researchers have cited court-system fragmentation as one of the leading causes of failure to protect adults and children. The result has been an undermining of public confidence in the administration of justice (...)"
"Preparing materials for use in the legal system presents two major challenges. The first is the cross disciplinary challenge of translating comprehensive analysis of socio-legal and social-science domestic violence research into tools and principles that can be used fairly and equitably in a legal context, without creating bias. The second is systemic: the need to understand and address in a practical manner the complexities of a legal system that operates as an organic, evolving system composed of multiple, interlocking parts."
"This report was written with educational and practical purposes in mind. Part 1 identifies the nature of the problem. Part 2 discusses terms. Part 3 offers law practitioners a quick reference overview of matters to consider when accepting a domestic violence case. Part 4 provides information and solutions relating to the collection and exchange of information across legal sectors. Part 5 explores problems occurring as a result of differing understandings of domestic violence among the legal sectors and explains how these differences affect the use and application of evidence. Part 6 introduces the reader to indicators of risk that domestic violence will continue, followed by Part 7 which focuses on indicators of the potential for lethal outcome; both explore how this information should be collected and shared across legal sectors. Part 8 examines evidence issues and procedural matters in interim proceedings at the intersection of criminal, family law, and child protection law. Part 9 focuses on cross-sector evidence issues during hearings, particularly the interpretation of evidence from the criminal law sector in a family law or child protection context, while Part 10 presents socio-legal information pertinent to best practices in the use of court-connected services. Part 11 offers concluding comments."