Friday, 31 December 2010

Domestic violence turned awry

I spent some time as a Victim Services Volunteer. 'Vickers' many call it. We were trained in handling emergency situations of many types. Called to support victims of crime, threats, trauma, accidents, suicide, we support the professionals by being a supportive person. Some of the work I did involved attending to a woman whose neighbour committed suicide. In another situation, I drove a woman to make a complaint at the detachment about a violent ex-boyfriend.

Playing happily with mommy
We were taught about the various services offered to victims of threats, domestic abuse or violence. Many agencies offer counselling, and practical advice for protecting themselves from those who show signs of escalating violent behaviour. Our provincial law enforcement agency (OPP) take the time to support those who are victimized. There is much research on this issue, and many participate in local and regional conferences to understand the impact of violence on the victims, as well as the children involved. We know that more women were murdered by former partners (500) than all those killed in Afghanistan (101) between 2000 and 2006. (Read this post for more information).

Turns out, one woman ('Jennifer') who was getting help from police in her domestic abuse situation, has now had her children taken away from her by the Children's Aid Society (CAS).

In the past there were 40 cases per year of 'alienation of affection'. These cases, CBC News tells us, have jumped to 120 cases. I understand that some families choose this method of payback, but it isn't the norm. Two years ago Jennifer pressed assault charges against her husband. He has counteracted the charges by going to the CAS and charging her with alienation of affection. CAS has taken custody from the mother, and sent the daughter to a supervised custody arrangement with the abusive father.

Children deserve to feel safe
What are they thinking? Do they not talk to the OPP? Of course a mother is going to protect her child from an abusive father. Whether the child is abused or not, they are susceptible to PTSD from witnessing the abuse. Naturally a child will be afraid of an abusive man, father or no, and a mother will do anything to protect her child. Women at risk are being given training in creating a Safety Plan, and an Escape Plan, for themselves and their children.

I am so shocked. Jennifer has gone to the media to state her case. She regrets calling in the justice system in the first place. Yet, her child, traumatized by a violent father, is now traumatized by CAS by being removed from her protective mother's care.


The May/Iles Inquest 1998, was one that laid down the rules for identification of protocol, mandatory charge policies, specialized courses for OPP, and other improvements to this system:

      1 comment:

      EG CameraGirl said...

      This is an interesting and informative post, Jenn!