Domestic violence

April 7, 2022   ·   0 Comments

Viewing CTV ‘s W5 investigative programme last Saturday evening, ‘Parents who Kill their Children‘, was very painful to watch as domestic violence lay behind each of the parental experiences. Shocking as it was, the program also pointed out that there is a lack of mandatory training for judges in Ontario in regard to domestic violence.  Hopefully, this may change.

Dr. Jennifer Kagan is one mother who has experienced the loss of a beloved daughter, Keira. In 2017, Dr. Kagan appeared before Justice Douglas Gray presenting documentation in regard to her custody arrangement with her former husband who had a known history of abuse.  Extremely concerned about the safety of their daughter in this custody arrangement, she wanted it changed.  Justice Douglas Gray’s shocking response to her appeal was “I am going to ignore it, it is not relevant”. Three years later, on February 9, 2020, Keira’s body was found at the bottom of a cliff near Rattlesnake Point, alongside her father, who had committed suicide. It is never more apparent that the Ontario Government and the laws around domestic violence need revising. This was a revenge killing, Dr. Kagan believes.

At present, the Ontario Government’s position on domestic violence states that “domestic violence is a pattern of behaviour used by one person to gain control over another person with whom they have or previously had an intimate relationship”.  It goes on to list the effects of domestic abuse as “physical, sexual, emotional, spiritual, financial abuse; harassment and stalking, cyber violence”.  Cause and effect, it makes no reference to what lies behind the behaviour that causes domestic violence. It also states that “Everyone has the right to live in safety and with dignity, free from intimidation and the threat of violence” which, to me, at the moment appears to pay lip-service to domestic violence, the laws and the courts. However, a private members bill, C-233 has recently been put forth to amend the Criminal Code (violence against intimate partners) and the Judge’s Act whereby it will become mandatory for judge’s to attend training in domestic violence. The Bill is yet to pass. 

Domestic violence is very real yet many women are discouraged and demoralized from coming forward to seek help for it. Quoting lawyer, Kathryn Marshall: “I have heard many women are being discouraged by family law mediators from even mentioning domestic violence in their court proceedings.  They are told if you bring it up, you will be seen as someone who is making it up, so hide it”. 

It is time for the Ontario Government to step up to the plate and improve the laws that will protect those experiencing domestic violence, for the courts and judges often find themselves restricted by the present-day laws in Ontario in dealing with and supporting those who experience this very tragic issue and some, the loss of beloved children.  

Program link:

Sandra Small Proudfoot


Readers Comments (0)

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.