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N.S. changes to investigate deaths involving domestic violence, children in care

Justice Minister Mark Furey listens to a question in Halifax on Tuesday, April 3, 2018. Unexpected deaths in Nova Scotia as a result of domestic violence or involving children in care or custody of the province would be subject to review by two expert committees under proposed legislative changes.
Justice Minister Mark Furey listens to a question in Halifax on Tuesday, April 3, 2018. Unexpected deaths in Nova Scotia as a result of domestic violence or involving children in care or custody of the province would be subject to review by two expert committees under proposed legislative changes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Nova Scotia is considering legislative changes that would lead unexpected deaths resulting from domestic violence or involving children in government care to be reviewed by expert committees.

Justice Minister Mark Furey says the proposed changes to the Fatality Investigations Act would create a domestic violence death review committee and a child death review committee.

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He says the domestic violence committee would review all homicides and homicide-suicides that are the result of violence between intimate partners and ex-partners and could include the death of a child or other family members.

The child death committee would review unexpected deaths of children under the age of 19 who die in the care or custody of the province, while also examining trends in the deaths of all young people under the age of 25.

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The minister would also have discretion to strike committees in deaths that fall outside the purview of those two standing committees.

However, recommendations by the committees, which will be chaired by the province’s chief medical examiner, would not be binding, and the information contained in the investigations would be exempt from the province’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

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