Review of Provincial and Territorial Domestic Violence Legislation and Implementation Strategies

1. BACKGROUND

PART 1: A REVIEW OF KEY IMPLEMENTATION ISSUES

1. BACKGROUND

1.1 Scope and limitation of the analysis

Focus Consultants has contracted with the Federal Department of Justice to gather materials and undertake preliminary analyses pertaining to domestic violence legislation in five jurisdictions for the Government of Nunavut, which is contemplating similar legislation. The primary goal at this point is to gather and organize relevant materials in order to facilitate decision-making by Nunavut.

Part I of this report examines the strategies and issues associated with developing and implementing domestic violence legislation, wherever possible with applicability to the geography and culture of Nunavut’s population. Part II compares the legislation and regulations pertaining to domestic violence in each of the five jurisdictions. The Appendix lists the relevant documents consulted in preparing this report. It includes legal documents, implementation materials and evaluation documents pertaining to domestic violence legislation in the five jurisdictions.[1]

The analysis in this paper is based primarily on review of the documents listed in the Appendix, and incidental contacts with each jurisdiction, rather than on systematic interviews with key respondents. It is anticipated that if Nunavut decides to proceed with legislation, more systematic contacts will be made with other jurisdictions about specific issues.

There are other factors which limit the scope or depth of this analysis. The first is that three of the five jurisdictions – Alberta, Manitoba and the Yukon – only proclaimed their legislation in 1999, and so have a relatively brief history and only anecdotal or limited monitoring data pertaining to implementation results. Saskatchewan (Feb, 1995) and Prince Edward Island (PEI) (Dec, 1996) have the oldest proclaimed legislation, and both have generated evaluation reports (see Appendix 8). theless, there has been considerable information-sharing and cross-fertilization between the “older” and “newer” jurisdictions, which is reflected both in the legislation, legal forms and training procedures.

The second factor is that although some lessons can be learned about the implementation of the act in small, rural and/or isolated communities, there is little clearly articulated analysis of how the act has worked and/or been used by Aboriginal populations.

Thirdly, few materials were available about consultation processes in the developmental stages in each jurisdiction. They were often in the form of briefing notes and these are not readily available. Furthermore, in some jurisdictions consultation processes were undertaken by staff persons who are no longer in the same positions. Fourthly, the materials were gathered in the space of several weeks in August and September, 2000. In some situations it was not possible for jurisdictions to provide all documentation in this short time period.

1.2 Strategies and issues explored

Five areas are addressed in this analysis:

  1. consultation processes;
  2. infrastructure requirements;
  3. training;
  4. communication and public legal education; and
  5. impact issues

Each is dealt with in Sections 2-6 of this paper.

1.3 How documents are referenced in this paper

Findings or observations in this paper are referenced in parentheses indicating the appendix sub-number (e.g., A. A.2) and - depending on the nature of the material – jurisdiction, author (if appropriate), year of publication (where available) and page number where the referenced information is located. Two evaluations in Saskatchewan by Prairie Research are frequently cited, and are referenced as “Saskatchewan,” followed by the year in which they were written (1996 or 1998).


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