There are so many short falls when it comes to Domestic Violence and our Judicial System in Canada. Here is what I have seen.
A man body checks his wife into a wall because she wants to talk to a friend on facebook. He pushes his 18 month old son and bounces his head off the laminate flooring. After 15 years of verbal,physical and emotional abuse the wife has had enough. She reports everything to the RCMP.
He is removed from the house, arrested and everyone is put under a 30 day emergency no contact order. Man is not held in jail during any of this time. Yet statistics say this is the most
dangerous time for victims because the abuser is having his control taken away. They get desperate and have a high tendency to hurt their victim or kill them. In other words “Yes we see the danger but until he commits an even worse crime all we can do is remove him from your home and tell him not to contact you. If he does, call 911 and hopefully we can show up in time to help you.”
Abuser goes to Court. In Canada it seems for your first assault you are fined $50 and sentenced to counselling.
You have kids with him? Oh well that changes things. He has rites as their father. We have to honour those first. Despite the fact he bounced your babies head off the floor we still need him to have access to his kids, but this is Criminal Court and we don’t deal with Family Law. Go get a Lawyer and work something out in that Court for visitation. In the meantime you need to have access with your abuser at least by phone to work out some sort of visitation. We know he intimidates you and scares the crap out of you, but please send your children to him because he is their dad. Remember he has rites. Oh and you can’t go on these visits due to the violence between you. We have to protect you, but I’m sure your kids will be fine.
So you obtain a Family Law Lawyer for an astronomical amount of money. Family Law Judge says “Well I will allow overnight visits. They must be supervised by his mom (that he has also abused and intimidated). I am sure she will report any abuse and everything should be ok.”
Your kids come home from said visits. They pee their beds, become aggresive, soil their pants, have nightmares, can’t focus in school etc. According to the Court they are ok. If you the mom really think there is a problem you better prove it to the Court. In the meantime keep sending those kids on those visits because dad has rites.
You seek help. Your kids get referred to Child Psychiatry, medication and counselling is recommended. Oh and one of the kids now has PTSD. Psychiatrist is spitting nails because a Judge has once again put a fathers rites above that of the child. She writes a letter to the Judge and reports everything to Child and Protective Services. Finally the mom feels like someone is listening.
I should add it has taken over a year from the assault to get to this point. So much unnecessary damage. has been done to these kids. Right the father has rites….ya ya we know.
Finally Supervised Access is granted because he truely is messing up these kids. Sorry for the permanent damage our system may have caused. Our solution is to make these traumatised children see their abuser in a controlled setting. We’ll send a Social Worker into the room. That person will take notes about what they see in case the Court wants to know. Oh abusive dad whispers alot to the kids and turns his back to the supervisor?? Yes he could be threatening these children, but we’ll just ask him to stop whispering. Make sure the Social Worker writes this down because that just stops this behaviour doesn’t it???
How are you mom through all of this?? You are having a break down? You have PTSD?? You are being stalked?? Sorry about that. Keep calling 911 when you need us and make sure you get some counselling.
Remember how the Courts just fined the abuser $50 and ordered him to counselling, telling him to behave. He did all of that and was a model citizen. We all know abusers are the most honest people. He must be doing better so the Courts let him go home. What was that? The counsellor said he is likely to reoffend?? Really?? Oh well we the Court are going to ignore that and still let him go home to his family. I am sure that abused woman with no self esteem will be able to keep him in line.
So he goes home and ends up continually raping his wife for 9mths and is abusing his kids.
Oh dear. We the Courts better do something about this. Ok he can’t go into her town or within 150 ft of her. Now the wife should be safe. What the wife is secretly moving because she doesn’t trust the legal system to keep her safe?? Really?? Well actually many women in our system do this. We won’t tell him where you are. Be safe and Good Luck! Oh and by the way he still has rites as a father so we need to do a Custody and Access report to figure out what sort of access he can have.
The wife and kids secretly move. The wife has to resign from her career. Father stops paying child support.Father never calls kids, gets dropped by his family lawyer and stops appearing in Court for the rape charges. No one is able to get a hold of the father. What does the Court do? Well they decide they are going to issue a Bench Warrant and put him in jail. No wait lets give his Criminal Lawyer 30 days to find him. If he can’t find him THEN we’ll look for him and arrest him.Oh and mom/wife yes this is alarming behaviour but you just keep looking over your sholder and call 911 if you see him. Hopefully we’ll get there in time.Ya hopefully.
Could this continual trauma not be avoided by putting the perp in jail from the very beginning? Could we not retraumatise the children and say “We have a duty to protect these children which supercedes a parents rites!” Why do the Courts have to wait until the wife is stabbed umpteen times or shot at before they put the abuser in jail??
Oh ya right. I forgot. He has rites.
About Janet B
I am a Mentor at Verbal Abuse Journals. I mentor victims of abuse offering free support and guidance – https://www.verbalabusejournals.com or facebook page https://www.facebook.com/VerbalAbuseJournals
facebook page – Freedom Within: My Journey through Domestic Violence and PTSD https://facebook.com/fw.dvptsd
twitter – @within_freedom