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Domestic Violence Death Review Committee Report Complete

January 9, 2013

Government Accepts Recommendations: Swan

The Manitoba Domestic Violence Death Review Committee has completed its first report and the provincial government has accepted all of its recommendations, Justice Minister Andrew Swan announced today.

“Significant work has gone into reviewing the circumstances of a domestic violence tragedy.  We are committed to identifying factors and making changes that could save lives in the future,” said Swan.  “This was not an easy process for the committee and I thank them for their ongoing efforts.”

Work to address the committee’s recommendations has begun and is in co-ordination with the province’s Domestic Violence Strategy released in November.  As more reviews are completed, trends and patterns will be identified and additional recommendations made, Swan said.

Recommendations from the first report include:

  • ensuring all police officers have direct access to cameras when responding to domestic violence calls so that injuries to victims can be photographed immediately;
  • requiring ongoing domestic violence training for medical professionals and police agencies;
  • developing a public awareness campaign that specifically targets youth and promotes healthy relationships, as well as domestic violence support services for family members including advertising the domestic violence toll-free number as a resource for families who have loved ones involved in these relationships;
  • reviewing and exploring the use of risk-factor checklists and the implications for police, victim services, prosecutions and corrections, and reporting to the advisory committee on the findings;
  • reviewing and exploring services available to family members impacted by domestic homicide that offer practical assistance, and recommending where and how families can receive this support; and
  • reviewing and exploring the creation of an information-sharing protocol with animal welfare services in recognition that domestic violence is often linked to cases involving animal cruelty.

The Domestic Violence Death Review Committee can review selected criminal justice cases, identifying trends, risk factors and patterns.  The committee explores the history, circumstances and conduct of the perpetrators, victims and their families.  It can interview people close to the situation who may have insight, such as friends, family or even the perpetrator.  Community and systemic responses are examined to identify possible gaps and points of intervention that might avoid similar tragedies.

Extensive work has gone into ensuring the committee and its working group respects the privacy rights of victims and conducts its work in a sensitive manner, the minister said.

Now that the review committee’s work on the first report is complete, Manitoba Justice will be working with stakeholders across the province to implement the recommendations, Swan said, adding the committee will also undertake further reviews, and recommendations from those cases will be provided to the justice minister as they become available.

The Manitoba Domestic Violence Death Review Committee includes representatives from Manitoba Justice Victims’ Services, Prosecution Services and Adult Probation Services along with the Family Violence Prevention Program, Manitoba Status of Women, Manitoba Women’s Advisory Council, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Winnipeg Police Service, RCMP and RESOLVE, which is a regional family violence research network.

Information and the videos supporting the Break the Silence campaign are available atwww.manitoba.ca/stoptheviolence.

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