Improve access to justice for Canadians through court training on intimate partner and family violence in the family justice system

December 6, 2022 – Ottawa, Ontario – Canadian Department of Justice

Family violence and intimate partner violence (IPV) are serious public health problems and can have immediate and long-term consequences for victims and their families, including physical, mental, cognitive, and financial harm. In addition, seeking justice can be difficult and re-traumatize for those affected by IPV and family violence. Improving the accessibility and fairness of our legal system is critical to supporting victims and their families.

Today, the Honorable 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, not-for-profit, judge-led organization that provides continuing education to federally, provincially and territorially appointed judges across 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 entering 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 may arise for families navigating multiple court proceedings, and promote work to obtain safe outcomes for members of the family. The course will cover many topics related to IPV and family violence, such as myths and stereotypes, barriers victims face in disclosing or reporting violence, and services available to victims and their families.

The course will draw on the most recent research on IPV and family violence to provide advanced training for 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 disproportionately at risk of IPV and family violence. Judges participating in the course will learn about the experiences of indigenous women, as well as the impact of colonization, residential schools, the child welfare system, systemic violence, intergenerational trauma, and other barriers that marginalized groups face when seek social or legal services.

The course will also cover the 2019 amendments to Canada’s federal family laws related to divorce, paternity and meeting family obligations. These changes, which came into effect primarily in 2020 and 2021, work to address family violence, promote the best interests of the child, help reduce child poverty, and help make 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 Innovation and Partnership Program.

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