Randall Garrison

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

The COVID-19 outbreak at the two Coastal GasLink workforce lodges has officially been declared over. (Lakes District News file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Coastal GasLink worksites declared over

In total, 56 cases were associated with the outbreak in the Burns Lake and Nechako LHAs

Brett Alexander Jones is wanted on several warrants province-wide, in connection with multiple charges. Jan. 21, 2021. Kitimat RCMP photo
Kitimat RCMP searching for man wanted on several warrants province-wide

Jones is described as a five-foot 10-inches Caucasian man, with blond hair and blue eyes.

That’s Houston physician Dr. Stefanie Steel receiving her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine Jan. 19, 2021 from RN nurse manager Cindy Cockle. (Northern Health photo)
First Houston vaccinations take place

Long term care residents, health care workers on list

Administering naloxone to a person experiencing a benzo-related overdose event won’t help. Naloxone is used to neutralize opioids. (Jenna Hauck/The Progress file photo)
Northern Health warning drug users of potential benzo contamination

The drug does not respond to naloxone, and is being included in street drugs

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

The District of Saanich’s communications team decided to take part in a viral trend on Thursday and photoshopped U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders into a staff meeting photo. (District of Saanich/Twitter)
Bernie Sanders makes guest appearance municipal staff meeting in B.C.

Vancouver Island firefighters jump on viral trend of photoshopped U.S. senator

School District 57 headquarters in Prince George. (Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Prince George school district settles with sexual abuse victim

Terms were part of an out-of-court settlement reached with Michael Bruneau, nearly four years after he filed a lawsuit

Surrey provincial court. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
New COVID-19 protocols set for provincial courthouses

The new rules were issued on Jan. 21, and took effect immediately

Police in Vancouver looking for male suspect who allegedly spat and attacked a store manager for not wearing a mask, at 7-Eleven near Alma Street and West 10th Avenue just before noon on Dec. 17, 2020. (Vancouver police handout)
VIDEO: Man spits on 7-Eleven manager over mask rule, sparking Vancouver police probe

‘Unfortunately, the store manager sustained a cut to his head during the assault’

The Vancouver-based SAR team successfully rescued two lost snowshoers off of the west side of Tim Jones Peak in the early morning of Monday, Jan. 19. (North Shore Rescue photo)
B.C.’s busiest SAR team raises alarm after 2021 begins with fatality, multiple rescues

‘People beyond ski resort areas of Seymour, Grouse, and Cypress go without cell reception,’ SAR warns

Police are searching for an alleged sex offender, Nicole Edwards, who they say has not returned to her Vancouver halfway house. (Police handout)
Police hunt for woman charged in ‘horrific’ assault who failed to return to Surrey halfway house

Call 911 immediately if you see alleged sex offender Nicole Edwards, police say

Most Read