A multitude of experts on domestic violence discussed the current problems with domestic abuse crimes and the struggles that come in solving it at a panel at the Kamloops United Church on March 21.
On the panel, was Rachel Williams, a local RCMP officer, Sarah Firestone, a government implements crown lawyer, Sharlene LaBoe, a director for a branch of child services, Jillian Oliver, a family law attorney and Rose Browe, a counsellor for domestic issues.
The panel started off with Williams, who was assigned to domestic assault cases back in the United Kingdom for 27 years before coming to Canada.
“I was very disheartened to find that a lot of the things that were regular in the U.K. such as bail hostels, alarm patrols, assistance to fleeing procedures were almost non-present in Canada,” she said of her arrival in the country.
She continued to state that, due to privacy laws in place, a great place to start was “for families and loved ones to reach out regularly to help victims know they’re not alone.”
The panel continued on, highlighting the following problems from each of the speakers. Firestone spoke about how it is difficult to prove beyond reasonable doubt and if charges are required in the public interest.
“If it’s partner related, it’s always yes to both of the two requirements,” Firestone said. “In Kamloops, 50 per cent of homicides are related back to intimate partners.”
“I work for the Crown, which means that I continue on with charges no matter what,” she said. “So if someone calls in, let’s say a wife hoping to drop the charges against their husbands, then I inform them that I can’t.”
Laboe then spoke on the same point that people needed to trust them more than they have in order for them to help them. She went on to claim that people who are more forthcoming with information have less of a chance of losing custody.
“It shows responsibility that the concern of the children come first and the director will take that into account,” she said.
Oliver shared that most of her time is used to combat laws broken in family law, mainly family violence.
“Family violence is anywhere from emotional, physical or financial abuse towards a partner and/or children. 67 per cent of my cases are presenting family violence,” said Oliver.
She went on to speak on the fact that her goal in her job is to find the best interest concerning the children.