News Release Archive

Patti Doyle Bedwell, spokesperson for the Advisory Council on the
Status of Women, questions the commitment of Nova Scotia's judges
to the principles and actions needed to eliminate violence
against women in their homes.

"In the ruling made last week, the police acted correctly in
arresting a man who had allegedly been assaulting his wife. The
Crown did its job by requesting a no-contact order. Then the
process fell apart because the judge ruled the man can go back
home. So we see that the concept of zero-tolerance for domestic
violence still has to become a reality here," said Ms. Doyle

"It's discouraging for police and Crowns who are doing the job
correctly to see their work go for nought when the judge rules in
the old way, favouring the man charged with assaulting his wife,
while allegedly exposing children to the violence, and who is now
excused from facing the full consequences, particularly a
no-contact order."

"The judges in this province have received various kinds of
training and education on the dynamics of family violence. They
know about the cycle of violence, where the perpetrator
invariably expresses remorse, but then goes on to commit
progressively more serious assaults. Without concrete action
supporting the safety of women, the judiciary in this province
continues to support a general climate of tolerance for domestic

"If judicial education is not very effective, we need to change
the law, to limit the discretion of judges in cases like this,"
says Ms. Doyle Bedwell," and at the same time make sure that the
family supports are in place to avoid re-victimizing the family
members. One problem here is the length of time it takes to bring
domestic assaults to trial. Given the seriousness of family
violence, these trials should have priority to avoid situations
like this from recurring."


Contact: Patti Doyle Bedwell  902-494-1024 or 902-477-6573

trp                 August 12, 1996 - 3:51 p.m.