Co-ordinated approach to partner violence is needed, experts say in wake of inquest

Basil Borutski arrives in a police vehicle for an appearance at the courthouse in Pembroke, Ont., on September 23, 2015. A coroner's inquest into the deaths of three women killed by their former partner in eastern Ontario is hearing closing remarks.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang. JDT/GAC

Experts say a coroner’s inquest has highlighted the need for a co-ordinated approach to intimate partner violence, including ways to address perpetrators as well as oversight and accountability measures to ensure that real change is being made.

A five member-jury presented a long list of recommendations Tuesday at the inquest into the deaths of Carol Culleton, Anastasia Kuzyk and Nathalie Warmerdam, who were murdered by a former partner on their properties in the Renfrew County area in 2015.

They include formally declaring intimate partner violence an epidemic, creating a 24/7 hotline for men to prevent them from engaging in this form of violence, and adopting a law in Ontario similar to one in the United Kingdom known as Clare’s Law that would allow police to warn someone that they could be in danger from their partner.

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Pamela Cross, a lawyer and expert on violence against women, says the recommendations “cover a wide range of areas where improvement is needed.”

Crystal Giesbrecht, director of research and communications at the Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services of Saskatchewan agrees, saying that adopting legislation similar to Clare’s Law is just one “tool in the toolbox” that should be explored.

Katreena Scott, the academic director of the Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children at Western University, says the recommendations specific to perpetrators — like the 24/7 hotline — would go a long way in preventing intimate partner violence.

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