Confused and appalled by closure of Family Violence court

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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

Organizations: Justice Department, Newfoundland and Labrador Federation

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Recent comments

  • Natalie
    April 24, 2014 - 09:39

    Thank you, Mary, for making these points. The loss of this court is a devastation to the families of this province. I have seen the lasting impact of family violence in my professional work and volunteer life. It is a serious issue - but one that is often hidden behind closed doors. The FVIC did wonderful work at opening some of these doors and getting the help for victims and offenders. I cannot believe that our government considers the savings of less than $600, 000 a year more valuable to this province than the necessary work of the FVIC. It shocks me. Are the transition houses the next to go?? In Sisterhood...

  • Yo mama
    April 14, 2014 - 16:12

    If our justice system would do their jobs, never would there be a need for such organizations in the first place.

  • Sheila
    April 13, 2014 - 20:20

    Excellent article and so very true. It is so very sad that the FVC has been pulled, it made a difference, it most likely saved lives. It is totally senseless to pull the funding. Who wins, no one, who loses women and society. Did you know that 10,000 in funding that would ensure women could attend essential group work as they lived with domestic violence has been lost too with the closure of the FVC? I love our province , I am so mad at our government ! Families deserve better!

  • blubber barrel
    April 13, 2014 - 19:33

    This article says it right except for one thing and that is that the real reason this court was taken away from the people of this province and that was because Darin King said we cannot have it. No other reason.He does not care about battered women. broken homes, abused children, and children who will carry the sight of violence to their grave. Darin King is out of touch with reality, but he knows what is good for us as he has said so. People will be upset at politicians for many reasons but it is not often that we are ashamed of them. Well I am ashamed of King and ashamed to admit to people that he is supposed to be a leader in this great province of ours. We need a patriot not a pathetic excuse for a Justice Minister.

  • Corporate Psycho
    April 12, 2014 - 22:00

    King and Shea embarrassed themselves in the HOA giving two different stories for shutting it down, can't get their stories straight.