After reading the article in Thursday’s Telegram “Family violence intervention court policy supported by government,” I find myself confused by the response of minister responsible for the Status of Women Joan Shea. And I am angered by the silence from Justice Minister Darin King to the legitimate questions posed by NDP MHA Gerry Rogers.
The Family Violence Intervention Court (FVIC) addressed the causes and consequences of domestic violence by employing a leading and cutting-edge, proactive approach to reducing and ultimately eliminating domestic violence in our province. It’s hard to believe that any government would discontinue such a program.
The original reason cited by government for the closure of the FVIC was due to a significant decline in people using the court’s services. Basic research has disproven this argument.
Suddenly, Shea is defending her government’s decision based solely on budget concerns. Just imagine — cutting this important service saved the Justice Department’s $529,000, a mere 0.2 per cent of their overall budget. This seems to be a small price to pay for a program when we see the results the FVIC produced.
I am, quite frankly, appalled that King refused to speak about this important issue in our House, and that government would put that kind of price tag on a program whose documented success is evident not only for changing the behaviours of the offenders, but for women and children to stay safer and allowing families to stay together.
This intervention program has reduced recidivism, preventing further acts of violence to occur, ultimately saving the province countless money in police, court and prison costs.
The government talks about the need for fiscal responsibility and that money must be spent in prevention initiatives.
Then where better to prevent domestic violence than with the children who witness their own father beating their mother?
Any chance to break a cycle of violence must be worth it!
Mary Shortall, president
Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour