Randall Garrison

Federal NDP looks to criminalize domestic emotional abuse with new law

MP Randall Garrison introduces private member’s bill

The federal New Democrats want to make psychological abuse within a relationship illegal.

Randall Garrison, NDP Critic for Justice and the MP for Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke, introduced a private member’s bill in the House of Commons on Oct. 5, making controlling coercive conduct in an intimate relationship a criminal offence.

Although psychological and emotional abuse – including controlling behaviour, isolation, and threats of violence – can be more challenging to recognize than physical violence, it can be just as damaging, experts say.

“Creating this new offence will help stop serious harm already being inflicted on intimate partners, and it will also allow police to take action before things escalate,” Garrison said.

The private member’s bill is based on the federal Ombudsmen for Victims of Crime request asking the minister of justice for coercive control to become a new criminal offence. The bill’s modelled after a similar provision in the United Kingdom.

In April, a nationwide survey released by Statistics Canada showed one in 10 women was “very or extremely concerned” about the possibility of violence inside the home.

Police regularly attend domestic abuse calls and usually refer victims of violent or mental abuse to victim services. Sooke RCMP Cpl. Dawn Gilhen said police could charge those perpetrating controlling or coercive behaviour with criminal harassment.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on the fact that not every home is a safe home,” said Lindsay Matthyssen, NDP critic for Women and Gender Equality. “People living in fear of violence should not have to experience violence before receiving help and protection. The government has a responsibility to do all it can to keep women and girls safe.”

The proposed law could result in a five-year prison sentence.

Few countries have criminalized psychological or emotional abuse.

In 2010, the French government criminalized psychological violence in intimate relationships, with the punishable offence carrying a maximum sentence of three years in prison and a large fine (approximately $77,000 Cdn.). In England and Wales, coercive control in intimate relationships became a criminal offence in 2015. Scotland also adopted a similar measure in 2018.

VIDEO: This hand signal alerts others to domestic abuse without a word



editor@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Crimedomestic violenceFederal Politics

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Jordan Jay Ward, 20, is wanted Canada-wide for manslaughter. (Calgary police photo)
UPDATE: ‘Suspicious’ man seen in Parksville woods not manslaughter suspect

Hikers say he resembled Jordan Jay Ward, wanted Canada-wide

From left: BC NDP candidate Adam Walker; BC Liberal Party candidate Michelle Stilwell. (Submitted/file)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Parksville-Qualicum candidates wait for mail-in ballot count

NDP’s Adam Walker has lead over B.C. Liberal Party’s Michelle Stilwell

An illustration was given to the Parksville’s Church of the Ascension by a person, in appreciation for allowing use of its shower facility. (Mike Favero/Submitted photo)
Parksville church makes showers available to the homeless

Pastor receives special illustration from one appreciative person

Dr. Richard Stanwick, Island Health chief medical health officer, immunizes Victoria Schmid, Island Health’s vice-president of pandemic planning. (Submitted photo)
Island Health advising people to get a flu shot

People looking to get vaccinated should book an appointment, says Island Health

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

RCMP have released more details regarding what led up to an arrest caught on video in Williams Lake Sunday, Oct. 26. (Facebook video screenshot)
Review launched after ‘high-risk, multi-jurisdictional’ chase, arrest in Williams Lake

RCMP launching a full review and code of conduct investigation

Freighter drags anchor towards Boulder Point Oct. 22. It came within 730 metres of the shore, according to maps from the Port of Nanaimo. (Photo submitted)
MacGregor introduces bill to address freighter anchorages along the South Coast

Concerns about the environment, noise, pollution and safety abundant

(Pxfuel)
B.C. limits events in private homes to household, plus ‘safe six’ amid COVID-19 surge

Henry issued a public health order limiting private gatherings to one household, plus a group of ‘safe six’ only

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson speaks during a drive-in car rally campaign stop at a tour bus operator, in Delta, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Andrew Wilkinson stepping down as B.C. Liberal leader

Will stay on until the next party leader is chosen

Campbell River's new hospital, July 2018
Nurse diverts opiates and falsifies records at Campbell River Hospital

Nurse facing disciplinary action for moving opiates out of the hospital

VicPD and B.C. Conservation Officer Service teamed up to free two bucks who were entangled in a fishing net and dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them. (VicPD)
VIDEO: Police, B.C. Conservation help two bucks caught in one fishing net

Bucks were also dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them

A heavy police presence was spotted in Lumby, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (Facebook)
Police situation leads to ‘hold and secure’ at North Okanagan school

Police call for social media blackout in ongoing incident

École de l’Anse-au-sable. (Google Maps)
COVID-19 outbreak forces closure of Kelowna school

The outbreak is the first within B.C.’s school system since classes resumed back in September

Most Read