Coercive control: Should it be criminalized?

pensive woman looking out window

Coercive control is now included in the definition of family violence in both the federal Divorce Act and Ontario’s Children’s Law Reform Act.  This important step makes clear the significance of non-physical abuse in intimate relationships. Many women describe this type of abuse as being worse than physical abuse because it is hard to make people understand how…

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Family violence HELP for family law legal advisors

Lawyer looks at documents

Identifying the presence of intimate partner violence (IPV) in a new family law file has never been easy for lawyers, but help has arrived in an important new tool recently released by Justice Canada. The HELP Toolkit: Identifying and Responding to Family Violence for Family Law Legal Advisors became available in early January, after several…

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Family violence screening: What you don’t know can hurt you

mother and toddler

Not every survivor of family violence walks into her lawyer’s office with a broken arm or black eye. Even when there is physical abuse, few clients readily open up about this with their lawyer. Identifying the subtler forms of abuse is even more challenging. Coercive controlling behaviours, including emotional and psychological abuse and financial control,…

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Ontario Family Court Watch: An invitation to organizations

many hands reaching in

The problem When a woman leaves an abusive relationship, family court outcomes can play a key role in improving the safety and quality of her life and that of her children. However, the family law system can also increase risk with — as examples — processes that allow abusive individuals to manipulate the system or…

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Family violence is relevant in family law processes

woman holding a little boy

A new report published by the Department of Justice Canada describes what many of us already know about family violence and family law processes: In a family law context, violence, abuse and neglect within families can have wide ranging, long-term effects. Family and criminal courts may offer contrary rulings that confuse and frustrate matters and…

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Family violence screening tools for family law practitioners

hands on a book

Update: This report on family violence screening is now available on the Department of Justice website. We are excited to announce that Luke’s Place has recently completed a research project with funding from the federal Department of Justice that looks at family violence screening tools for family law practitioners. Many women are uncomfortable disclosing abuse…

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Post Separation Power and Control Wheel

The Power and Control Wheel of domestic violence is a very well-known and used tool  developed in Duluth, Minnesota, by the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project (DAIP). It reflects the experiences of women who have been battered by their male partners. Now translated into more than 40 languages the Wheel is used around the world by…

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