NDP Leader Cam Broten wants to tackle Saskatchewan's high rate of domestic violence deaths by bringing experts together to review partner homicides and make recommendations on how to prevent future domestic violence deaths.
Saskatchewan has the worst rate of homicides by intimate partners among Canadian provinces, yet it has never held a coroner's inquest or a review of partner-caused deaths. Broten is calling for the establishment of a Domestic Violence Death Review Committee – a step four other provinces have already taken – which would conduct ongoing reviews of domestic violence deaths.
“We don't have to accept the high rate of domestic violence deaths here in Saskatchewan. We can and must do something to prevent these tragic and needless deaths,” said Broten. “We should learn from other provinces by bringing together experts who can review these murders, learn from them, and make recommendations on concrete steps to prevent future deaths.”
There were 58 intimate partner homicides in Saskatchewan between 2000 and 2010, the highest rate of any province in that period. Just this year in Saskatchewan, there have been three murder-suicides among intimate partners, leaving nine dead. Our province's Chief Coroner says that the recent spike in domestic violence deaths should serve as a “wake-up call.”
Ontario’s Domestic Violence Death Review Committee has concluded that 75 per cent of domestic homicides are "predictable and potentially preventable," designing recommendations to protect Ontario women and families. New Brunswick, Alberta and Manitoba followed Ontario’s lead, creating similar review committees, and British Columbia conducted a one-time review in 2010 of 11 domestic homicides.
The leading expert on family violence within Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Justice calls death reviews the ‘best practice’ across the country.
“We need to heed this wake-up call and follow best practice in order to prevent domestic violence deaths,” said Broten. “The victims of domestic violence are most often daughters and mothers. They're our neighbours. They’re urban and rural women from all backgrounds. They all matter – they all deserve our best effort to end domestic violence and intimate partner homicide.”