NDP passes bill to provide greater protection to Canadians facing abuse « Canada’s NDP

June 12, 2024 at 8:00 am  Federal, Politics

OTTAWA – After years of advocacy from Canada’s NDP, on Wednesday, NDP MP Laurel Collins’ private member’s bill to make coercive and controlling behaviour illegal under the criminal code passed in the House of Commons.

Coercive control is a pattern of abuse that can include threats, humiliation, isolating the person from support, and depriving them of independence. A staggering 44 per cent of girls and women aged 15 and older have reported some kind of abuse in their intimate partner relationship.

“Any woman experiencing any form of abuse deserves the most protection we can provide for her,” said Singh. “We’ve heard from women from coast-to-coast-to coast who have shared their experience with abusive coercive behaviours and from families who have lost a loved one to intimate partner violence who’ve said that early intervention could have helped.”

“For the past nine years, Justin Trudeau has claimed to champion women’s rights while failing to make the necessary changes to the criminal code to help support women. Meanwhile, Pierre Poilievre and the Conservatives have attacked women’s reproductive rights while ignoring women’s safety concerns. It’s so important that today we’re one step closer to adding more protection for women.”

Survivors, front-line service providers and police agree that the proposal would provide an important tool that allows earlier intervention in problematic relationships before things escalate and victims experience greater violence. Ninety-five per cent of victims of intimate partner violence say that these coercive behaviours happened before the relationship turned physically abusive. What the NDP is proposing is a way to help keep victims and survivors safe.

“Almost every woman has either experienced these behaviours or knows someone who’s been subjected to coercive control. It’s dehumanizing, gut-wrenching and far too common,” said Collins. “Yet, it’s been overlooked by Liberal and Conservatives for generations. It’s past time for there to be stronger protections in place to keep women safe and give them more options to seek out help; this is why making coercive control illegal has been a priority for the NDP. New Democrats are working to make sure the flaws in our justice system that hurt women are fixed.”

“Women, particularly Indigenous and racialized women, are disproportionately facing violence in this country,” said NDP critic for Women and Gender Equality, Leah Gazan. “We have a responsibility to do everything in our power to ensure women have the most protection possible under the law. The government has failed victims and survivors. This is one step to support women, but the Liberals have a responsibility to address the broader context of sexism in the legal system. Women living in harmful intimate partner relationships deserve a judicial system that is trauma informed and a government that takes gender-based violence seriously.”

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