↗ A highlight of action to implement Justice Options is that Victim Services and the Interministerial Women’s Secretariat divisions of government actively participate on the Advisory Committee for Circles of Support and Accountability. Victim Services staff assist to identify and support women who may benefit from a circle of safety and support, and this translates into more use of the circles. In the past year, three clients of Victim Services, with the support of a Victim Services Worker, participated in a community-coordinated safety circle.
↗ The Steering Committee of the Victims of Family Violence Act has been working for a number of years to assist with monitoring and training related to the Act. The Committee attempts to identify issues related to family violence which require systemic responses: custody issues have been identified as an area in need of work. This is a positive step, though we ask who will monitor who provides this training and what attitudes they bring towards women’s equality.
↗ The Office of the Attorney General supported six staff from various sectors to attend a Justice Canada Symposium and a Federal/Provincial/Territorial (FPT) meeting in February 2009 on “Family Violence: The Intersection of Family and Criminal Justice System Responses.” The symposium permitted participants to identify the challenges posed by the different objectives and legal standards of criminal and family justice system responses to family violence from the perspective of families. Participants discussed innovative and promising mechanisms to respond to challenges and better link the two systems.
↗ The FPT meeting provided officials an opportunity to discuss the symposium, to enhance links between FPT committees, to share information on challenges, and to showcase promising practices to respond. This symposium appears to have been influential among provincial officials.
→ Government took an active part in developing the recommendations from the Justice Options project, and these recommendations continue to have legs, though this year saw fewer of the small-but-concrete actions on recommendations than we saw in last year’s Report Card. Community involvement and consultation, especially with women’s groups, will continue to be important in access to justice issues.
This is an excerpt from the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women 2009 Equality Report Card for PEI, released in June 2009 and based on information updated to May 30, 2009.