Monday, February 27, 2012

Tips for Doing Your Homework when Retaining a Lawyer

This article offers some general ideas to keep in mind what looking to retain a lawyer.

Ten steps to take before hiring a lawyer 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Canadian Statistics on Family Violence

Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile

Statistics Canada, 2011.Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics under the Federal Family Violence Initiative

Find out more about violence toward spouses, children and youth, seniors and family related homicides from 2000 to 2009.

Here are some highlights from the report:

Spousal Violence:

Definition: encompasses physical and sexual violence, as well as emotional and financial abuse, perpetrated by a current or former legal or common-law spouse.
  • 6% of Canadians with a current or former spouse reported being physically or sexually victimized by their spouse in the 5 years preceding the survey.
  • Less than one-quarter of spousal violence victims report the incident to police (22% in 2009).
  • The proportion of victims who reported the most serious forms of spousal violence such as being sexually assaulted, beaten, choked or threatened with a gun or knife was similar to 2004.
  • Those aged 25 to 34 years old were three times more likely than those aged 45 and older to state that they had been physically or sexually assaulted by their spouse.
  • In 2009, females who reported spousal violence were about three times more likely than males (34% versus 10%3 ) to report that they had been sexually assaulted, beaten, choked
    or threatened with a gun or a knife by their partner or ex-partner in the previous 5 years.
  • Females were more likely than males to report multiple victimizations, at 57% and 40% respectively.
  • In 2009, 22% of spousal violence victims stated that they had been sexually assaulted, beaten, choked, or threatened with a gun or a knife, a proportion that did not differ significantly from 2004 (29%).
  • In 2009, victims of spousal violence were less likely to report the incident to police than in 2004.

Violence against Children & Youth:
  • Police-reported data for 2009 indicate that children and youth under the age of 18 were most likely to be sexually victimized or physically assaulted by someone they knew (85% of incidents).
  • Nearly 55,000 children and youth were the victims of a sexual offence or physical assault in 2009, about 3 in 10 of which were perpetrated by a family member.
  • Six in ten children and youth victims of family violence were assaulted by their parents. The youngest child victims (under the age of three years) were most vulnerable to violence by a parent.
  • In 2009, the rate of family-related sexual offences was more than four times higher for girls than for boys. The rate of physical assault was similar for girls and boys.

Spousal and Common-law Homicide
  • Between 2000 and 2009, spousal homicides accounted for 16% of all solved homicides and nearly half (47%) of all family-related homicides.
  • Females were more likely to be the victims of family-related homicide, particularly spousal homicide. Over the past 30 years, the rate of spousal homicides against females has consistently been about three to four times higher than that for males.
  • Between 2000 and 2009, 40% of spousal homicides involved common-law partners and 36% involved married spouses. Another 23% were against separated spouses and 2% were against divorced spouses.
  • The majority of male victims were killed by a common-law partner (66%), female victims were slightly more likely to have been killed by their legally married spouse (39%) than by a common-law partner (33%).
  • Female victims of spousal homicide were more likely than male victims to be killed by a partner from whom they were separated (26% versus 11%).
  • Stabbings were the most common method used to commit spousal homicide, more commonly used against males (72%) than females (32%).
  • Female victims were more likely than male victims to be shot (26% versus 11%), strangled, suffocated or drowned (22% versus 4%) or beaten to death (16% versus 5%).

Homicide of Children & Youth:
  • Between 2000 and 2009, there were 326 homicides against children and youth (0 to 17 years) committed by a family member, accounting for 7% of all solved homicides and 21% of all family-related homicides.
  • Homicides against children and youth were committed more often by family members than
    non-family members.
  • The risk of homicide by family members tends to be highest for infants (less than one year of age); Between 2000 and 2009, the rate of family-related homicide against infants was nearly triple the rate of 1 to 3 year-olds, the next highest age group.
  • Parents were almost invariably the accused person identified in family-related homicides against infants, accounting for about 98% of all such homicides between 2000 and 2009.

Monday, February 20, 2012

16 Changes to Make Right Now to Make Divorce Easier on The Kids

Hayley Krischer on Aug 27, 2010, IVillage.

Forum on the new BC Family Law Act in Vancouver - March 9, 2012

Women, Violence and BC’s New Family Law: Applying a Feminist Lens


Agnes Huang
Barrister & Solicitor

Susan B. Boyd
Professor of Law  Chair in Feminist Legal Studies
Director, Centre for Feminist Legal Studies

Laura Track
Legal Director
West Coast Women's Legal Education & Action Fund

Angela Marie MacDougall
Executive Director
Battered Women’s Support Services


A family law forum


SFU Joseph and Rosalie Segal Centre
 515 West Hastings Street


Friday, March 9, 2012
9:30 am – 12:30 pm


In November 2011, British Columbia passed a brand new Family Law Act, which will be phased in over the next year. From a feminist lens, this forum will discuss and debate key changes to the province’s family law and considerations for women who experience violence.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Parental access & visitation rights vs. child safety

Parental rights vs. child safety: Should boys have been visiting Josh Powell? (+video)

Josh Powell, a 'person of interest' in his wife's disappearance two years ago, died with his two young boys in an apparent murder-suicide. Should he have had visitation rights?

Amanda PaulsonFebruary 6, 2012, Christian Science Monitor

Should Josh Powell have had visitation rights with his two young children – whom he allegedly killed on Sunday in an apparent murder-suicide? 

How could the authorities have given supervised visitation to a parent who was a “person of interest” in his wife’s disappearance? Should it have been at his house, as opposed to a neutral spot? Why was no one aware of how troubled Mr. Powell apparently was?

But it’s not always clear in such cases what precautions are necessary – and a parent’s right to see his or her children is a powerful one in family court.

Read the whole story here. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Fresh Start

Welcome to the Family Law Network blog. The goal of starting this blog is to organize and synthesize information, media stories, case law and resources for those who are involved with family court matters in BC and Canada.

** Disclaimer: Please note the editor of this blog is not a lawyer and this blog is not intended to provide legal advice. Readers can find links to lawyer referral services on the blog.

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave comments, or forward ideas, or materials for consideration for posting to:

Tracey Young, MSW, RSW
Editor of Family Law Network blog

Catalyst Enterprises BC

Twitter: @Catalyst_BC