News Release Archive

The Government of Nova Scotia's comprehensive strategy to address
family violence reaches its first anniversary tomorrow. The goal
of the multi-faceted program is to improve the justice system's
response to family violence, through the implementation of
policies and training for justice workers. As well, support
services for victims have been enhanced in communities across
Nova Scotia.

Justice Minister Jay Abbass said "We have made progress in
increasing awareness and in improving our response to incidents
of family violence. We still have a lot of work to do and our
efforts must continue to address this very important issue."

More than 2,000 justice workers will be trained as part of the
initiative; 500 have completed the course to date. Comprehensive
policies for dealing with family violence have been developed for
key sectors of the justice system. Policies for the police,
Victims' Services', the Public Prosecution Service, the courts
and corrections have been developed and integrated as part of the
training program.

"We are on the leading edge in Nova Scotia," said Raymond Cusson,
Family Violence Program Coordinator. "Our policies for key
sectors have been developed and are a focus of our training
programs. Since each sector is aware of the role they are
expected to play, we can ensure a more coordinated response to
incidents of family violence."

Through a collaborative effort with Community Services, services
to victims have also been enhanced. A total of $500,000 has been
provided to a number of programs representing different models of
victim support.

A key component of the initiative has been the involvement of
those on the front lines who deal with victims of family violence
every day. They also agree that the program has had an impact.

Bea LeBlanc, executive director of Cape Breton Transition House,
said, "No doubt about it, it's a very, very positive thing. We're
seeing changes in the community, and in how the police respond to
family violence. Courts are recognizing the seriousness of this
offence. In just one year, we've seen dramatic changes, and
there's more to come."

Chief Cecil Martin of the Hantsport Police Department said, "The
program has been well received by the members. The training
groups have developed their own mission statements and action to
go into the community and sell the idea. The community is

Chief Brent Crowhurst of the Lunenburg-Mahone Bay Police Service
said,"The fact that the police agencies in the community now have
a resource they can use that provides the necessary services for
victims of family violence is important. Previously, police felt
this issue wasn't properly dealt with. Now we know something else
will be done. By having additional resources, the community can
better service those that find themselves in this situation."

Karen O'Hara of Tearmann House said, "It has strengthened our
relationship with the police. The main thing is we can follow
through with services and we can act as advocates. The program
allows us to provide a more consistent response, and allows the
system to provide a more consistent response."

Sharon Walden, the Lunenburg-Queens Family Violence Coordinator
said,"The message is getting out there, and the people are
responding to it. Sometimes I am overwhelmed with referrals and
worry that the community doesn't have the resources needed to
deal with everyone. It will take a long time and a lot of work to
make this happen, but it looks like everyone is committed to
making the system work better."

Carolyn Marshall of the Family Violence Prevention Initiative
(FVPI) said,"The FVPI applauds the Departments of Justice and
Community Services for their efforts in responding to family
violence. As author of the tracking project, which identified
weaknesses in the justice system's response to family violence in
Nova Scotia, I'm particularly pleased to see action of this type,
especially in the provision of training, improved policies,
accountability mechanisms, and enhanced services to support
victims. We will continue to collaborate with the Department of
Justice to monitor the implementation of this program and
evaluate its impact."

Susan Potts of the Public Prosecution Service said, "We
implemented a policy on spousal partner violence in June after a
two-day Crown attorney training program on domestic violence.
Every Crown attorney in the province will have received this
training by the end of October, 1996. The cases subject to this
policy will be tracked by the PPS to ensure its successful
operation from the beginning of the case to its conclusion."


Contact: Michele McKinnon 902-424-6811

For additional information contact:
Bea LeBlanc 902-562-4666
Chief Cecil Martin 902-684-3538
Karen O'Hara 902-928-0774
Chief Brent Crowhurst 902-634-4312
Sharon Walden 902-543-2427
Carolyn Marshall 902-424-2079
Susan Potts 902-424-5450

trp                       Sept. 18, 1996 - 3:55 p.m.