Department of Justice Canada

Department of Justice Canada

August 14, 2013 09:12 ET

Government of Canada Helps Victims of Family Violence

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Aug. 14, 2013) - The Honourable Peter MacKay, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Central Nova, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today announced the allocation of almost $250,000 in funding to help the Scarborough Family Justice Centre provide services that will ease the trauma for victims of family violence.

"Home and family should be safe havens, but unfortunately that is not always the case," said Minister MacKay. "In 2011, police reported almost 95,000 victims of family violence in Canada. Our Government is committed to addressing the trauma experienced by victims of violence."

The Scarborough Family Justice Centre is a pilot project being operated by Victims Services Toronto, in partnership with Toronto Police Services and community organizations. It aims to provide a more victim-focused and victim-friendly approach to criminal justice and social services intervention. For example, the Centre will ensure that each victim is provided with an advocate for support, counselling, case management, case co-ordination and consistent, timely access to information about the criminal justice process.

In total, the Government of Canada has allocated $249,127 over three years, starting in fiscal year 2012/2013 for the Scarborough Family Justice Centre. This money is being provided through two funding programs within the Department of Justice Canada. The first program is the Family Violence Initiative, which supports the development, implementation, testing and assessment of ways to improve the justice system's response to family violence. The remaining funding is being provided through the Victims Fund, which focuses on responding to the needs of victims of crime.

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Backgrounder

Family Violence and the Family Violence Initiative

Family violence is abusive behaviour used to hurt or control a family member or a person with whom the abuser has an intimate relationship. Such violence can take many forms. It could include physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse or neglect. It may include a single act of violence or a number of acts that form a pattern of abuse.

Incidence of Family Violence in Canada

According to Family violence in Canada: A statistical profile, 2011, which was released by Statistics Canada in June 2013, police reported that almost 95,000 people in Canada were victims of family violence in 2011. Those victims accounted for 26 per cent of all victims of violent crime reported to police in Canada in 2011.

In reality, the number of victims of family violence is probably much higher because many cases are not reported to police. There are many reasons why victims might not report family violence. For example, feelings of fear, shame and love for the abuser can be powerful motivators for keeping the violence secret.

Impact of Family Violence

Family violence can have serious consequences for victims and for society. According to Statistics Canada's statistical profile on family violence, 34 per cent of all homicides committed between 2001 and 2011 were family-related. The impact of family violence on a victim's emotional or physical health can result in their inability to work, or to care for themselves or their children. Children exposed to family violence, whether as a victim or as a witness, can suffer long-lasting emotional, behavioural and developmental problems.

The impact extends far beyond victims and their families. For example, several billions of dollars are spent each year in Canada on health care, justice processes, social services and other costs related to family violence.

Family Violence Initiative

The Family Violence Initiative provides grants and contributions funding under the Justice Partnership and Innovation Program of the Department of Justice Canada. It supports the development, implementation, testing and assessment of models, strategies and tools to improve the justice system's response to family violence. It also supports projects that raise public awareness and encourage public involvement in responding to family violence.

For More Information

More information on the Family Violence Initiative can be found on the Department of Justice Canada's website at www.justice.gc.ca

Department of Justice Canada

August 2013

Contact Information

  • Paloma Aguilar
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Minister of Justice
    613-992-4621

    Media Relations
    Department of Justice
    613-957-4207