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

Efforts to replace the aging Rutland Middle School have been put off by another year by the ministry of education. (File photo)
Education ministry won’t replace Rutland Middle School anytime soon

New Westside Secondary top priority for ministry of education

West Kelowna Warriors goaltender Roman Basran stood tall in a 4-3 shootout victory over the Vernon Vipers Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. (Lisa Mazurek Photography)
Vernon Vipers fall to West Kelowna Warriors in shootout

Kelowna Rockets goalie Roman Basran helped the warriors to a 4-3 SO win Friday night.

Thanks to efforts by a Kelowna shelter and Elections BC, anyone who wishes to can vote in the 2020 BC Provincial Election, even if they don’t have a fixed address. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Kelowna group ensures people experiencing homelessness can vote

Shelter supervisor says voting ‘a fundamental right’ even for those without a fixed address

City Park, Oct. 23. Image: Lynn Morran
Snow forces tunnel closure under W.R. Bennett Bridge

Branches from trees are breaking and falling across City Park

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Cole Collingwood casts his mock ballot at Vernon’s Mission Hill Elementary School ahead of the provincial election Oct. 24, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
PHOTOS: Okanagan students cast mock election ballots

At Mission Hill Elementary, the election is a chance to learn about the democratic process

BC Liberals Leader Andrew Wilkinson, BC Greens Sonia Furstenau, BC NDP John Horgan (The Canadian Press photos)
British Columbians vote in snap election called during COVID-19 pandemic

At dissolution, the NDP and Liberals were tied with 41 seats in the legislature, while the Greens held two seats

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The deer were allegedly shot within Princeton town limits, late at night. Black Press File Photo.
Armed man, in full camouflage, allegedly shoots deer in downtown Princeton

‘The list of charges goes on and on,’ said RCMP Sgt. Rob Hughes

Andrew Allen performed for two intimate crowds of 50 at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre Oct. 17. (Camillia Courts Photography)
Live events continue on North Okanagan stage

First Andrew Allen plays two sold-out shows, next up have a laugh with comedian Mike Delamont

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Most Read