The possibilities of criminal justice intervention in domestic violence: A Canadian case study

Author(s) Ursel, Jane
Title The possibilities of criminal justice intervention in domestic violence: A Canadian case study
Source Current Issues in Criminal Justice, Vol 8, 263, 1996-1997
Date 1996
Document type Journal article
Coverage Manitoba, Canada
Summary This study is a qualitative assessment of the effects of reform in the criminal justice system in Canada on domestic violence victims. The data was collected in Winnipeg over a period of 13 years, seven years prior to the implementation of the specialised Family Violence Court and four years of data from the Family Violence Court, with two years of data from the Family Violence Court still being collected. One finding was that policy changes at the police level did substantially change police behaviour in terms of arrests. A qualitative change, which occurred as a result of court specialisation, was the redefinition of crown culture. A consequence of a prosecution policy that is as attentive to the victims' needs as it is to the matter of prosecution is an increasing rate of stays of proceedings. While more offenders are being convicted the percentage of convictions is declining. The issue of women using the police to stop the violent episode, thereby addressing the balance of power with her partner and then later the prosecutor staying the charges, is discussed with the suggestion that it can be a successful and meaningful intervention. In conclusion the author considers the limitations of the role of the criminal justice system, but emphasises this should not stop improvements being made.
Keywords Domestic violence; service provision; support; courts; justice system
Topic Domestic violence