November 9th, 2023
NDP pressures Parliament to support criminalizing all forms of domestic abuse
OTTAWA – On Thursday, NDP MP Laurel Collins called on all Members of Parliament to support her bill to make coercive and controlling behaviour illegal under the Criminal Code, as the bill goes into its second reading. Coercive control is a pattern of abuse that can include threats, humiliation, isolating the person from support, and depriving them of independence.
“Coercive control is abuse, but historically it’s been overlooked and downplayed – which as a whole hurts women,” said Collins. “It’s not only dehumanizing and hurtful, but it is one of the most common precursors to physical abuse and femicide. Without it being a part of the criminal code, there’s very little women experiencing this form of abuse can do until it escalates.”
Over 95 per cent of victims of intimate partner violence have also reported experiencing coercive behaviour and control. This pattern of behaviour leaves long-lasting impacts on survivors, including mental health concerns, feeling serious distress, fear, and isolation.
Two years ago, the Justice Committee recommended criminalizing coercive behaviour to protect people experiencing domestic abuse and to prevent situations from taking a turn for the worse. The Liberals haven’t moved forward on it.
“The Liberals have spent eight years claiming to champion women’s issues – but then when real problems are pointed out, they don’t act – instead they delay and disappoint,” said Collins. “I’ve seen firsthand what it looks like when women are victims of this type of abuse, and it’s devastating on its own, but also so often it eventually escalates to physical violence.”
“New Democrats believe in fixing the flaws in our justice system that disproportionately hurt women. Which is why we’ve brought forward a plan to support victims of intimate partner violence, and I’m urging all parties to support the bill.”
“Coercive control is common, hidden and dangerous,” said Andrea Silverstone, CEO of Sagesse, an Alberta-based domestic violence prevention organization and an expert on coercive control. “Without this law, survivors feel their experiences are ignored or minimized and their options for finding support and safety are limited. Passing this law will help ensure survivors’ voices are heard and our justice system can better protect them. I encourage all Members of Parliament to vote to move this Bill forward.” – Sagasse, Director of Communications Katherine Springall.