In an effort to curb gender-based, domestic and intimate partner violence, the New Brunswick government has tabled legislation to increase safety.
The legislation, called the Intimate Partner Violence Intervention Act, will provide increased safety measures for victims including:
- Temporary possession of personal property
- Exclusive residence occupation
- Temporary child custody
- No-contact provisions
- Weapons seizure
Beth Lyons, executive director of the New Brunswick Women’s Council, said in an interview the new legislation would help existing victims of family violence.
“It really is about timeliness that when you’re waiting for a criminal proceeding to go forward you might not have access to your children, your home, you were thrown into economic insecurity, housing insecurity,” Lyons said. “So this is really a stop gap measure between the actual leaving and criminal charges if there are any that there are some explicit protections for victims exactly when they need them most.”
Justice and Public Safety Minister Denis Landry said in a release that the legislation would “address many of the barriers” faced when people try to leave an abusive relationship, such as through providing easy access to emergency intervention orders by telephone.
“The safety and protection of those most vulnerable is important,” Landry said.
The legislation is a result of recommendations provided in the province’s Roundtable on Crime Prevention and Reduction, according to Fredericton Police Chief Leanne Fitch.
Premier Brian Gallant told reporters the province would be working with stakeholders to advance the legislation, which he said will help anyone but especially women who find themselves in domestic violence situations.
According to the Report on the State of Public Health in Canada 2016: A Focus on Family Violence in Canada, more than 133,000 people reported in 2014 being a victim of dating or family violence, with women making up almost 72 per cent – about 96,000.
“This (legislation) will allow them to get protection but it will also hopefully build a culture where women specifically, but all genders that may be going through this, feel comfortable enough to raise that there’s an issue and be able to make the appropriate reach outs and calls to let people know what’s happening,” Gallant said.
By introducing the legislation, New Brunswick joins several other Canadian provinces who have enacted similar laws.
– With files from Jeremy Keefe, Global News