Presentation on theme: "The Ontario Domestic Violence Death Review Committee (DVDRC) Established in response to recommendations from two major Coroner’s inquests into the killings."— Presentation transcript:
The Ontario Domestic Violence Death Review Committee (DVDRC) Established in response to recommendations from two major Coroner’s inquests into the killings of Gillian Hadley and Arlene May by their estranged male partners; In 2002, DVDRC was established under authority of the Coroner’s Act; Our 5 th annual report was released in 2008; Our committee currently only one in Canada.
The Ontario DVDRC Mandate: To assist the Coroner’s office with the investigation and review of deaths involving domestic violence with the goal of making recommendations aimed at prevention of similar deaths; Review criteria: Homicides of a person and/or their child(ren) by an intimate partner or ex- partner who may also have commit suicide following the homicide.
The Ontario DVDRC Objectives: (1) to conduct confidential, in-depth reviews of some cases; (2) to maintain a comprehensive database on all cases to identify trends, risk factors & patterns; (3) to identify systemic gaps or shortcomings so as to make recommendations for improvements.
Reviews 2003-2007 Total reviews: 62 cases, involving 100 deaths Victims: 94% women; 6% men Accused: 92% men; 8% women Type of homicide event: - 39% homicide only - 37% homicide-suicide - 6% multiple homicide-suicide - 3% multiple homicide - 15% attempt homicide-suicide
Reviews 2003-2007 Type of relationship: - 56% legal spouses - 26% boyfriend/girlfriend - 26% boyfriend/girlfriend - 18% common-law partners Length of relationship: - 61% 10 years or less - 38% More than 10 years Children in common: 58%
Top 10 risk factors over 5-year period #1: Actual or pending separation (79%) #2: History of domestic violence (75%) #3: Perpetrator depressed (63%; non-medical) #4: Obsessive behaviour by perpetrator (63%) #5: Escalation of violence (50%) #6: Prior threats to kill victim (45%) #7: Prior threats to commit suicide (44%) #8: Prior attempts to isolate victim (44%) #9: Access to/possession of firearms (42%) #10: Excessive alcohol or drug use (40%)
Preventable deaths? The DVDRC considers a case predictable, and potentially preventable, if there are 7 or more risk factors present. Between 2003-2007: 84% of the cases had 7 or more risk factors; 8% of cases had 4-6 risk factors; 10% of cases had 1-3 risk factors. …thus, the majority of cases appeared to be preventable in hindsight!
Recurring Themes Multiple recommendations directed at some key areas between 2003-2007, including: (1) Education; (2) Risk assessment; (3) Universal screening; (4) Marginalized communities; (5) Intersection of family and criminal law; (5) Intersection of family and criminal law; (6) Coordination of services.
Education: Recommendation #11-2007 “It is recommended that the Ministry of Education who provides funding for adult education, alternative education programs, and regular school programs that may involve young parents, ensure that education and training is provided to individuals who deal with young parents in such programs on how to respond to suspected or known cases of intimate partner violence among their clients.”
Risk Assessment Recommendation #14-2007 “It is recommended that community agencies in partnership with government should explore the creation of an easily accessible, non- threatening mechanism for friends and family to get information or to consult with a trained individual regarding situations where they have concerns that a woman is at risk from her intimate partner.”
Universal Screening Recommendation #5-2007 “It is recommended that healthcare providers be taught to be mindful of the dynamics of domestic violence and the potential for lethality, especially when working with patients who have a history of drug abuse, depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation, particularly when there is high conflict in their marriage and a history of numerous separations.”
Marginalized communities Recommendation #7-2007 “We recommend that first Nation communities be prioritized by government to address the enormous lack of resources available to them, including making available culturally appropriate service providers that would be adequately trained in providing an effective response to the complex issues facing Aboriginal families.”
Intersection of family/criminal law Recommendation #24-2004 “It is recommended that before deciding on the nature of access, assessment reports for family court judges, prepared by qualified assessors with domestic violence training, should be considered. This assessment is especially valid when dealing with someone who has a history of domestic violence as demonstrated by a prior criminal record for related offenses.” “It is recommended that before deciding on the nature of access, assessment reports for family court judges, prepared by qualified assessors with domestic violence training, should be considered. This assessment is especially valid when dealing with someone who has a history of domestic violence as demonstrated by a prior criminal record for related offenses.”
Coordination of Services Recommendation # 11-2006 “It is recommended that a protocol be established to ensure that when Children’s Aid Societies (CAS) receive information about domestic abuse from other professionals such as school guidance counselors, that the information be forwarded in a structured way to all appropriate authorities, including police so that monitoring of such cases should involve and link all appropriate agencies.”
‘No blame or shame’ culture of reviews… …a must if committees are to achieve the 3Cs – communication, cooperation and collaboration – a crucial element in the prevention of domestic violence related deaths.
Our ultimate goal? To understand and recommend change; OR OR To understand and implement change.
Where do we go from here? Recommendation #1 “It is recommended that the Ministry of the Attorney General take a leadership role in creating an inter-ministerial committee that will methodically review all community, agency and government responses to recommendations that have been made by the DVDRC since its inception.”