Family violence and intimate partner violence (IPV) are serious public health issues and can have immediate and long-term consequences for victims and their families, including physical, mental, cognitive and financial harms. In addition, seeking justice can be difficult and re-traumatizing for those affected by IPV and family violence. Improving the accessibility and equitability of our legal system is critical in supporting victims and their families.
Today, the Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, announced that the Government of Canada is providing funding to the National Judicial Institute for judicial training on IPV and family violence in the family justice system. The National Judicial Institute is an independent, non-profit, judge-led organization that provides continuing education for federally, provincially and territorially appointed judges throughout Canada.
The Government of Canada is supporting the development of a national online course for judges in Canada on IPV and family violence in the family justice system. This course will be available to all judges in Canada with a particular emphasis on supporting provincial and territorial court judges who hear the majority of cases that come into the family justice system. The goal of this course is to provide judges with additional knowledge and tools to support increased access to services, address challenges that can arise for families navigating multiple court procedures, and promote work towards safe case outcomes for family members. The course will cover many topics related to IPV and family violence, such as myths and stereotypes, barriers victims face when disclosing or reporting violence, and services available to victims and their families.
The course will rely on the most recent studies on IPV and family violence to provide advanced training to judges across Canada. Recognizing that IPV and family violence disproportionately affect certain populations and women in particular, the course will also reveal the impacts of intersectionality on meaningful access to justice. For example, First Nations, Métis, and Inuit women are at a disproportionate risk of facing IPV and family violence. Judges who participate in the course will learn about Indigenous women’s experiences as well as the impact of colonization, residential schools, the child welfare system, systemic violence, intergenerational trauma, and other barriers marginalized groups face when seeking social or legal services.
The course will also cover the 2019 amendments to Canada’s federal family laws related to divorce, parenting and enforcement of family obligations. These changes, which mainly came into force in 2020 and 2021, work to address family violence, promote the best interests of the child, help to reduce child poverty, and contribute to making Canada’s family justice system more accessible and efficient.
Justice Canada is providing $869,861 over four years to the National Judicial Institute for judicial training on IPV and family violence in the family justice system through the Justice Partnership and Innovation Program.