Concerns: effects of reoffending, fair treatment
Worthy of full prosecution? – vs. alternative measures
How should police respond – matter of stopping violence, separating partners (for
the night), matter of referring victim or abuser to different types of counseling –
police also play counseling role, and finally arresting the offender. Previously
domestic violence was known as a private matter that should not be interfered with,
now there is a mandatory for someone to be charged if there is domestic violence
without consent of the victim
Studies: victims call the police just to get the offender to stop, see the consequences,
didn’t want full arrest – related to the severity of offence/ financial situation/
number of previous offences.
Ontario Study – women hadn’t even thought that their partner would be arrested
and just wanted immediate protection. When they wanted him charged (only over
night) just wanted to create space.
Problems: cost, support the victim may receive, fear of retaliation – inflame the
violence & escalade.
Experiences: pretty good at predicting re-offence. Protective element in reporting
US Survey – followed women over 3 years every 6 months – results – repeat
victimization rate higher if not reported to the police. Depending on whether first
time or subsequent offence. 5% repeated if reported & 10% if not reported to police.
Doesn’t matter who reports it – has a protective elements only from reporting the
offence to the police.
1995 Study – charged one group vs. warned another group – wasn’t a lower rate of
recidivism when charged –
Conclusion: type of intervention not that crucial – what is, is that some type of
intervention has occurred. What do we do about the role of the victim and the
evidence they provide for proceeding with the charge – what do you do if they
refuse to testify? Therefore, should we have mandatory policy? – Positives vs.
Negatives. Protection with decision making because there is a rule you have to
follow. Equal treatment? – want everyone to be treated with similar fashion – but
what happens when we do this – are there repercussions with that – what are the
true wished of the victim – can they be truthful – can they express their fear –
stressful time – should this type of responsibility be put on the victim.
How about non – spousal violence – two friends that get into fist fight – should same rules hold true if there is a mandatory policy in spousal assault.
Ex. Francis Fox
- women was able to secure a legal abortion – admission to hospital fox signs
as husband – which is forgery
- Was told there wont be any charges against Fox – because only had come to
light because of publicity
- Prosecution is not automatic
o Enough evidence to lay charges – but figured out would be difficult to
lay charges/ wouldn’t have much effect/ consequences already had
been suffered by Fox/ women would also have to be charged/ not in
public interest – not worth it
- Brings up questions of who should be charged, does seriousness of offence
way into situation, the role of the victim, history of the offender, should we
examine impact on future offending. What role does public interest have/
who decides this.
Criminal Code – Alternative Measures
Offender must admit guilt in order to quality for alternative measures. If maintain
innocence must go through formal process. Offender must agree to terms of
program. Prevent criminal record – still state intervention so is technically on
record and can be called back on if re-offend.
YCJA – extra judicial sanction
Ontario “Direct Accountability”
Indicated that eligibility of these programs do vary by community. Only particular
types of offences can be diverted – generally violent crime not available for those in
Restorative Justice – (Form of diversion)
Conference – bringing offender/ victim/ me