I have met and heard the tragic stories of many parents. PA is a function, by and large, of a custodial ex-partner, although some alienation can start while the couple is still together.

This blog is a story of experiences and observations of dysfunctional Family Law (FLAW), an arena pitting parent against parent, with children as the prize. Due to the gender bias in Family Law, that I have observed, this Blog has evolved from a focus solely on PA to one of the broader Family/Children's Rights area and the impact of Feminist mythology on Canadian Jurisprudence and the Divorce Industry.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Domestic abuse law blasted

Interesting how this is only news when it happens to a female but it is an everyday event for a man. Look at the smile on Epstein's face. That man has no idea of the misery created by his involvement in a process that has ruined so many men's lives and families. To add insult to injury they interview Peter Jaffe again another promulgator of skewed and scientifically suspect feminist statistics. MJM


 


 
TONY BOCK/TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO
Philip Epstein, a well-respected family law expert who helped draft Ontario's so-called "duty to report" policy on domestic violence 30 years ago, now says it needs a review and better use of discretion. (Jan. 9, 2008)






















Authorities 'overreact' as warring couples use zero-tolerance rule to gain upper hand, lawyer says
Aug 28, 2009 04:30 AM
Living Reporter
 
Ontario's "zero tolerance" policy on domestic violence has come into question following an unusual court case involving an Orangeville-area woman who was charged with assault after joking in emails that she could solve her marital problems with a gun, if only she could get one.

Alison Shaw, 40, was forced out of her home and ordered to stay away from her three children after her estranged husband claimed to have been "frightened" by the online missive, which followed what a judge described as a "one-punch bar fight" over a month earlier in an area Legion hall.

The ruling is unusual on two fronts:

It's a twist on what men's rights groups claim divorcing fathers have been suffering for years at the hands of police and the criminal court system. And it's creating buzz in legal circles because a well-respected family law expert who helped draft Ontario's so-called "duty to report" policy 30 years ago now says it needs a review and better use of discretion.

"This is a gross overreaction by the Crown and by the police in response to what they thought is the zero-tolerance rule," says Philip Epstein, a veteran divorce lawyer who sat on the committee that crafted the 1979 directive.

"We know so much more about domestic abuse now than we did back then. It's time to re-examine the policy and create some limited discretion for the police and Crown attorneys to deal with this problem," he said.

Criticism of Shaw's treatment first arose more than a year ago in a family law decision from Ontario Court Justice Bruce Pugsley, who said it's "commonplace" for the criminal justice system to be manipulated by estranged spouses claiming abuse, "no matter how remote the assault may be in time or, indeed, how trivial the contact."

Epstein has highlighted the decision – and his concerns – in the recently released Reports of Family Law, a critique of interesting or unusual family law judgments. He and other lawyers have praised Pugsley as being the first judge to so clearly tackle the thorny issue of how some warring couples use the criminal courts to get custody of their children and gain the upper hand in divorce cases
.
The way such allegations are handled by police and Crown attorneys can have "the disruptive force of a hand grenade" for families, Pugsley said, setting in motion a chain of events that can wreak "havoc" on children.

Shaw's treatment was fairly typical: She had no criminal record, was charged and held in jail overnight until she could post $5,000 bail, and ordered to stay away from her home and kids "without any regard for children's best interests," the judge said. Her bail conditions also restricted her from using the Internet.
"This is not for one moment to diminish the impact of spousal abuse on family members and children in Canada," said Pugsley, a point Epstein also stresses. But "the events after the arrest of Ms. Shaw do not, in retrospect, show the police, the Crown, counsel or the criminal judicial system in a good light."

Shaw and her husband, Stephen, were estranged, but still living in the same house, when he hacked into her computer in late 2007 looking for evidence of an affair. Instead, he found what Pugsley described as "vile language" and "gossipy joking" in an email to a girlfriend that talked about "solving her matrimonial problems with a gun, if she could only get one."

The husband reported them to police, as well as an incident over a month earlier in a bar in which she is alleged to have punched him. He returned to ask police to lay a charge of assault after meeting with a lawyer.
"I can only hope that no licensed lawyer in this province would have advised the father that the fastest way to get custody and exclusive possession of the family home was to report the mother's transgressions to the police," Pugsley said in his ruling.

While Epstein says false or trumped-up allegations are rare, and domestic abuse remains a "very, very serious and real issue," they can unfairly cripple an accused legally and financially because Ontario's court system is so slow and overburdened.

He added the legal aid system is so cash-strapped, it can take eight months to a year for a criminal case to be decided.

During much of that time, the parent has no access to their children. (Pugsley moved quickly to give Shaw 50/50 access to her kids on alternating weeks.)

Epstein had one case where a wife alleged abuse and then started clearing valuables out of the house while her husband awaited a bail hearing. Some men have started fighting back, says one lawyer whose female client is being threatened with a $250,000 wrongful prosecution suit by her ex-husband.

Domestic violence experts such as University of Western Ontario professor Peter Jaffe says the research is clear on what constitutes domestic abuse, but more training of police and Crown attorneys is needed. In fact, they point to what they consider a far more worrisome trend: Police who are simply throwing up their hands, charging both partners, and leaving it up to judges to sort it all out.

"The number-one problem in 2009 isn't minor allegations that are blown out of proportion or the potential for false allegations. The number-one problem in Ontario in 2009 is that there are still 30 to 35 domestic homicides a year and that so many people are being abused and not seeking help," says Jaffe.



Revenge not a divorce

As so often happens the police and Crown given power abuse power. The idea behind the domestic abuse directive is good but like any directive that doesn't give leeway to those responsible for caring it out there is room for abuse of the process and as often happens the abusers say they are following orders. Women have used this as a weapon so often that innocent men have been charged with everything from sexual assault to threatening for nothing more than the fantasy in the women's mind. Lives have been ruined and careers destroyed and I have written this before. Lawyers are at fault often as are policemen. The real fault lies with women who want revenge and not a divorce.
Submitted by HRHFHM at 7:36 AM Friday, August 28 2009

A joke!

This zero tolerance policy has been abused for years. Women have for years used such flimsy evidence to get custody of their children. What is news here is that a guy is using the system for his advantage. Maybe now the rules will be changed - its high time!
Submitted by Turners at 7:33 AM Friday, August 28 2009

Well...isn't that interesting...

Too bad there's a whole industry to protect...Equality and proper investigation before laying charges are major detriments to the divorce and domestic violence industries...
Submitted by VanGrungy at 7:32 AM Friday, August 28 2009

Shame on these people...

for clouding such an important issue with frivolous claims in order to gain the upper hand against their former partners. Meanwhile there are very real and valid cases of domestic abuse where women's (and men's, I'm sure) lives are legitimately in danger. Fighting at the legion - very classy.
Submitted by svanzijl at 7:27 AM Friday, August 28 2009

Bull...

There are few cases of false reports and allegations of abuse? That is bS and a lie, it happens all the time.
Submitted by allison1957 at 7:21 AM Friday, August 28 2009

Double standard

This zero tolerance situation ordered for law enforcement has created a climate as discribed in this article, however I believe the article downplays the abuse over the years. The criminal courts have become a tool for custody and support issues. The hands of the police & crown's are tied. Men have been at the short end of this stick for years, they lose custody of their kids and pay support in a highly disproportionate number compared to women. The fact that this one case involving a woman being the accused causes the story to be reported is really quite sad on two parts. One, this is clearly a abuse of the system by the husband. Two, it takes a woman getting the short end of the stick for there to be any action or outcry on this matter.
Submitted by Bosco at 9:44 AM Friday, August 28 2009

Amazing...

Unbeleivable, it's taken a case against a woman for someone to stand up and state the system is a joke. Meanwhile the province is littered with destroyed families and fathers with zero involvement in their kid's lives. I guess when spousal support, child support and false abuse allegations begin to effect the mother's life, the laws will change...it would be comical if it weren't so tragic, but certainly predictable.
Submitted by MensRightsNow at 9:43 AM Friday, August 28 2009

This "zero-tolerance" stuff is a wicked joke. Hard to find someone that doesnt know a man that had his life destroyed by a woman's lie these days. I was charged with rape last year and had my life destroyed only because a woman said I raped her. in the end, during the trial, the judge concluded that the "victim' was a compulsive lier, and the police never ever had enough evidence to charge me. I also have a freind that was stabbed by his bipolar wife, and get this, HE WENT TO JAIL!!!!!Until these laws are fixed may I suggest males keep away from woman. Love is great but the court system is HELL!!!
Submitted by NOTGUILTY at 9:38 AM Friday, August 28 2009

not funny

It's never "funny" to say you'll solve the problem with a gun. She's getting what she deserves. Live and learn.
Submitted by aplysia at 9:34 AM Friday, August 28 2009

Zero tolerance? No such thing. My dayghter had her fingers sprained and hand broken by her husband when he repeatedly slammed the door holding her hand in the door jam. She called the cops. Their reaction was that it was his house, even though he had invited her over to talk when the assault happened, they would not charge him. Zero tollerance, yea, right.
Submitted by suzzi at 9:27 AM Friday, August 28 2009

The legal Industry

"trumped-up allegations are rare"? Oh, come on. As the judge said... "it's commonplace for the criminal justice system to be manipulated by estranged spouses". Law is a very biased game in Ontario. Want Justice? You better have the money to pay for it. Chief Justice Winkler voiced his concerns last year about the cost of justice in Ontario."civil justice system that fails to be accessible to many". The family law industry requires a complete overhaul in Ontario.
Submitted by Industrialguy at 8:10 AM Friday, August 28 2009

Spousal abuse is serious

I completely agree that there should be zero tolerance with SPOUSAL ABUSE, but there should also be ZERO tolerance when a spouse falsely accuses the other with abuse. To me, that is also a form of abuse. I have unfortunately witnessed divorcing couples use this tactic exactly how this article described. When the charges are proved bogus (at great expense to the wrongly accused and the justice system)the damage has already been done. These accusers should be dealt with as severely as the "alleged" abuser.
Submitted by WeeOne at 7:48 AM Friday, August 28 2009

And yet

Had a man sent such an email in similar circumstances, saying similar things, they would have thrown the book at him and no one would have batted an eye.
Submitted by tbo at 7:47 AM Friday, August 28 2009

Interesting Timing

I find it indicative of the way in which the sexist doctrine of the militant man-hating martriarchal fiminists of the 1980's still dominates much of our thinking in this area that no problem was recognized until it was a women who was victimized. The fact that a whole generation of men were treated unfairly never seemed to matter.
Submitted by Gandalf at 7:44 AM Friday, August 28 2009

Judge Pugsley is living in another world

if he thinks lawyers don't advise their client to seek charges to gain custody or get a leg up in a divorce settlement. Zero tolerance has helped scores of women get out of abusive situations but you can't suddenly say the police and crown are over reacting if they follow that set policy. Mr. Epstein you can't such and blow at the same time.
Submitted by Maxbear at 7:44 AM Friday, August 28 2009

NEVER - EVER any excuse

With all the cases where one spouse has assaulted the other, or been caught trying to hire someone to, there can be no tolerance for any statements that can possbly be taken for a threat. The right thing was done here.
Submitted by WJM at 7:41 AM Friday, August 28 2009

About times a voice of reason

The amount of power given to police officers and the crown by this legislation extrapolates the individual rights provided by the charter. I had a similar experience once and if I had the financial means I would have fought it all the way to the supreme court. It is about time to fight against overzealous Crown Attorneys, untrained police officers and a tyrannical and oppressive system. I hope pressure mounts to knock down this legislation that has impacted negatively so many families.
Submitted by Mark K. at 7:36 AM Friday, August 28 2009

Interesting that a man "uses the system"

I totally agree with "WeeOne". I can only imagine who the individuals are that DON'T agree with WeeOne's statement, "I completely agree that there should be zero tolerance with SPOUSAL ABUSE, but there should also be ZERO tolerance when a spouse falsely accuses the other with abuse. To me, that is also a form of abuse." Unfortunately, even ZERO tollerance could not repair the damage done to the children after false allegations are made.
Submitted by Itsallcovered at 10:11 AM Friday, August 28 2009

So hard to quantify abuse

I had a boyfriend who used to manipulate me and yell and scream, and then when I reacted and got angry, he would call the cops and tell them that I was the instigator. It was a hard thing to deal with, because he was a master manipulator, and I am lucky that I didn't get carted away. I applaud those who are looking to modernize the laws, but I think there is a lot of training that needs to be done so that the police have a real understanding of what is possible. Abuse isn't just threats and hitting. It took me a long time to understand myself that I was being abused. The police were unable (or possibly unwilling - I am unclear which) to assist me because there was no clear way I could state my case to make them understand what had happened. I can see where other commenters are coming from with regard to the issue being brought to light by the fact that a woman is being accused, but should we not just be glad that it is being reviewed at all???
Submitted by tigerleo at 10:10 AM Friday, August 28 2009

Don't tie up the 911 line unless its an emergency

I was at a friend's house years ago and she and her husband were fighting over who had to stay home with their 3 month old baby, as both of them wanted to go out on their own to a Queen Street nightclub. The war of words escalated, my female friend hit her husband hard, and he pushed her away as she kept hitting. As soon as he defensively pushed her away, my friend triumphantly said 'HA! I'm calling 911 to report that'. She then called 911, to report 'domestic abuse'. I hated that she was tying up 911 lines, and pictured an elderly person, possibly having a heart attack, getting a busy signal at 911. The police came, I talked to them, as did my friends and no one was charged. (this was 1992) It left me disgusted with my friend. I think people have to be more careful of not rushing into relationships because of lust.
Submitted by Brett_Andie at 10:09 AM Friday, August 28 2009

With domestic violence statistics stating that women and men commit it equally against each other it is a wonder it has taken this long for incidents such as this to come out. Oh I forgot the woman was the perp not the man and the Star has once again misread its readership. If the aim was to feel sorry for the woman the comments prove you missed the mark completely.
Submitted by scatmasterdd at 10:04 AM Friday, August 28 2009

Really

As one previously involved in enforcing these laws I can say that the system is biased against men. When stories differ, the woman’s is taken as true. Many women don’t want their spouses charged; only counseled. I’ve known many women who, after calling Police cried, begged and pleaded, to no avail, that charges not be laid against their husband. I can only believe that were these women ever assaulted again, many would not report it the next time because of zero tolerance. Zero tolerance is a Left wing, we know better than you, big sister policy that many times does more harm than good and does not take into account the feelings of the victim.
Submitted by CJ Craig at 10:02 AM Friday, August 28 2009

Equality

They chanted for equality, FINE. That means equal for all. No double standards or reverse double standards when it comes to punishments and sentencing.
Submitted by overture at 10:02 AM Friday, August 28 2009

@mezzi

Domestic violence statistics show both men and women participate equally. Until you understand that domestic violence is about a bad relationship breakdown and NOT about bad men and the "patriarchy" our society will NEBVER fix this problem...in fact you're actually promoting the problem by demonizing men. There needs to be a paradigm shift in how we study domestic violence, and the first step is women need to accept that they are also part of the problem and therefore part of the solution. I know many men who were/are physically, psychologically and emotionally abused by women, yet they get ZERO government support to deal/help them with their problems. Try not to make this about a tiny minority of men, and I won't make this about a tiny minority of women.
Submitted by MensRightsNow at 10:01 AM Friday, August 28 2009

Ont laws is haphazard

My soon to be was like this and i got fed up, got online read the law and court cases and fought back. To many people fall in this trap and the cops either do not file charges or let the abuse continue and say words of encouragement to allow it to continue. Goos story Ms Pigg.
Submitted by SMC at 10:00 AM Friday, August 28 2009

Best. Quote.Ever.

"I can only hope that no licensed lawyer in this province would have advised the father that the fastest way to get custody and exclusive possession of the family home was to report the mother's transgressions to the police," Pugsley said in his ruling. Is this guy kidding??? Is this quote serious? Lawyers do this all the time, the more animosity in a divorce, the more they make. Lawyers coach clients all the time on how to exaggerate and twist the truth. It's amazing how this judge "moved quickly" to give the mother 50/50 despite the gun "joke". Chivalry or the feminist industry? Who knows?
Submitted by MensRightsNow at 9:51 AM Friday, August 28 2009

The law can be a weapon.

I've never laid a finger on a woman in anger, but I once had a (somewhat imbalanced) girlfriend who didn't take well to our breakup. At one point, she started smashing her head into a brick wall, and she just smiled and said "I'm going to tell the police that you beat me up." I realized that if the police DID show up and saw blood trickling from her forehead, I would have been slammed into the ground with full force, cuffed and hauled off to jail...period. I immediately ran over to a friend's house and asked him to come back with me - it was terrifying. It's time that we started talking about these issues as SPOUSAL abuse (or simply violence) instead of politicizing them as "a war on women" or other such garbage.
Submitted by Rossvegas at 9:48 AM Friday, August 28 2009

False Allegations Should Be Punished

My experience with this sort of thing is quite real. My ex fooled around and I found out so I decided to leave. The same day I went to meet my divorce lawyer she goes to the police telling them I threatened her a few weeks prior. I had to mount a very costly defense and it came down to credibility. She had made false complaints to police regarding two men prior to me so her "it took so long to report because I didn't know what the process was" story didn't hold water and she backed down completely. Luckily I had no record and was able to afford top dollar lawyers. I did go back to the arresting officer so lay out what had happened but all he claimed was that she was very believable in her statement and would he would not charge her. Lives can easily be ruined. Spousal abuse is deplorable and the police are in a tough spot. But they need training on how to spot false complaints and they need to charge those that make false complaints.
Submitted by sledr at 9:47 AM Friday, August 28 2009

We must EDUCATE !

educate our young girls about domestic violence! Teach them about self-esteem, and in turn morals and values. Parents need to STEP UP! It relies on PROPER PARENTING to instill these values... You would be suprised about the # of young women in abusive relationships even in UNIVERSITY!!!!
Submitted by jmeezi2009 at 9:47 AM Friday, August 28 2009

Reading this article

make me glad I am not married. No doubt, it's tough for a woman to be in an abusive situation, but sometimes twice as tough for a man. This is because women, on average, seem a little more supportive of other women in domestic violence situations and have community support available to them. Conversely, both men and women (or the community at large) hardly seem sympathetic to guys who find themselves abused by their spouses. His "buddies" will likely laugh at him, tell him to stand up to her wife or quit being a "girly-man". Even the police have been known to laugh at guys who report spousal abuse. This is because guys normally have a physical strength advantage over women. However, an abusive woman knows she has the law on her side, and when her spouse indeed acts in self-defense, she can spin that into a false accusation of abuse and have him charged by those same police who laughed at him earlier. Protection from domestic violence should apply to both genders.
Submitted by tscott at 11:16 AM Friday, August 28 2009

"The Process of Justification"

"Zero Tolerance" is aka, "the war on Men", is Ontario's Law of Gender Apartheid. ALL ILLEGAL but "justified". Ontario Courts are swamped by criminal proceedings that generally have no hope of a "Genuine" conviction yet, dubious convictions are made to give "a win" to a mother for custody and access purposes. Most DV charges are laid to terminate children's relationships with their father and no doubt in some cases with mothers but those cases are small by comparison. The real criminals are the family court judges who flagrantly abuse their powers to "justify their decision" with the first or nearest fictitious story presented to them or suggested to them. The same judges then issue massive orders for costs to forever prevent the father from coming to court again. The Legal Cartel's Judicial representatives want all to pay a lawyer or get crucified as a self rep. Our corrupt courts have more in common with Casino's with high minimum bets with the odds all stacked on Gender.
Submitted by 613_797_DADS at 11:09 AM Friday, August 28 2009

We could probably get a lot......

.......farther by training "couples" in how to maintain a relationship. If a marriage contract is to be successful the participants have to know the rules BEFORE they enter into it. But, as in most daily activities, we allow people to plod ignorantly along and then expect the police, the caretakers of society, the Crown and the courts to resolve everybodys' problems. Of course the police and the Crown will follow - to the letter - the training that they are given because if they use "discretion" they can be guaranteed they will become one of "accused" if something goes wrong. Society doesn't pay them enough to take that risk and certainly won't back them if a reasonable choice turns out to be in error. In a perfect world people would be adults but they, in many cases aren't. That's not the fault of the police & Crown!
Submitted by 7thGenCanadian at 11:02 AM Friday, August 28 2009

I was a victim of these laws

My ex used her knowledge of these rules, to have the police charge me based on false accusations. I was forced to spend $3600 just to get a fair bail hearing. When I got out, my ex refused me access to my belongings. By the time I got a court order to retrieve them, she had stolen all my valuables. I think that there should be a polygraph (lie detector) test, for any spouse wishing to accuse the other spouse.
Submitted by star11 at 10:57 AM Friday, August 28 2009

No protection

I agree with the fact if it was a man that this, it would not have been news. My ex, all she had to do was to go to the station and cry of being abuse due to the fact i was of a ethnic background and she was Caucasian. We as man have little protection from the law. The only thing we can do is dig deeper into our pockets and prey.
Submitted by crfrprjr at 10:46 AM Friday, August 28 2009

Resentment and Hate

There are few things that cause resentment and hate deeper and more enduring than false accusations. If you want your grave cursed by the parent of your children go ahead. They will be raised with you in the ugliest light and stand a better chance of cursing you too. Now if you're a liar and law manipulator - you deserve it.
Submitted by Llamma at 10:43 AM Friday, August 28 2009

The march of history

Discretion WAS the better part of valour.The concept has been lost in the discordance of contemporary society. It diminishes all of US.This article is indisputable truth.
Submitted by Peter Hazlewood at 10:41 AM Friday, August 28 2009

there was a case not too long ago

the man was arrested and jailed after his wife gave false complaint of abuse. when the case finally got to a judge he not only threw out the case, but the man got the right to sue her LAWYER on the grounds that the lawyer had advised his client to use this technique. now that the shoe is on the other foot (for once!) it is an abuse! WHERE WAS MR EPSTEIN BACK WHEN THIS TRAVESTY WAS MAKING ITS WAY THROUGH THE COURTS???
Submitted by gonzo at 10:29 AM Friday, August 28 2009

False allegations are out of control

Simply make an allegation, true, false, or exagerated, and the Police will happily charge you. They won't even ask for your side. Lawyers want $5000 retainer, then maybe, just maybe after a few months, the Crown will decide the charge is just spin and release you. Its long past time to compensate people who have been harmed in this way, for the system to say "We made a mistake, we will correct it" Better yet, prevent these wrongful arrests from occuring in the first place, require the authorities to show unequivocal cause, before proceeding. Our current system is arbitrary, and anyone can be wrongfully charged.
Submitted by Equaljustice.ca at 10:25 AM Friday, August 28 2009

LAWYERS!!!!

i have spoken and listened to several women tell there story, and it starts with a lawyers advice, want custody of your children call the police, as she has to say is, i am fearful, and the police and crowns no better, error on the side of their careers, put the guy in jail, trouble for all the "lives" they have ruined, all the innocent people in jail, they have NOT NOT reduced domestic violence or deaths
Submitted by ted1313 at 10:21 AM Friday, August 28 2009

too many mistakes, too many ruined lives

I once had a neighbor that constantly fought with his girlfriend which he had a child with. She was a short-fuse drunk, and it didn't take too many drinks to get her beligerance up. One day he came over to my house and asked if he could escape his wife's tirade for an hour. Next thing I know the police are banging on my door asking for him as a false report was issued by his girlfriend. I tried to explain to the police that he'd been at my apt for the last 45 minutes but away he went in cuffs.
Submitted by opinion_guy at 10:19 AM Friday, August 28 2009

Why do only women suffer injustice?

Every year hundreds of men in Ontario are falsely arrested because the women in their lives know the fastest way to obtain the upper hand in a seperation. When my ex and I were involved in an argument and the police were called I was told by one of the officers, "When we are called, someone is going to jail and it will usually be the male." another officer told me, "We don't arrest women in Durham county" my ex has now been living in our home with custody of the kids for almost 2 years and even though I have had 4 court orders granting me permission to go to my home and see my children she refuses and tells the police she is afraid of me. The police always take her side and have told me, "We do not enforce court orders, we are only here to keep the peace." The court system takes forever and is very costly and the police force is very biased, but if a women suffers some form of injustice all of a sudden there is a problem.
Submitted by Andrew66 at 10:18 AM Friday, August 28 2009

Services for Male Victims and Female Abusers

Statistics Canada reports that "ALMOST EQUAL PROPORTIONS OF MEN AND WOMEN (7% and 8% respectively) had been the victims of intimate partner physical and psychological abuse (18% and 19% respectively). These findings were consistent with several earlier studies which reported equal rates of abuse by women and men in intimate relationships" Based on the Statistics, that is a significant proportion of male victims and female perpetrators that are ignored and discriminated against by our current system of primary treatment for victims and perpetrators of domestic violence and abuse.
Submitted by Denis Pakkala at 12:04 PM Friday, August 28 2009

@tscott

Yah, very unfortunate double standard. What's a guy to do? Not to diminish the commonality or seriousness of violence against wives. But what support does a man have? That said, women in these relationships don't get the support you might imagine. Women may seem to talk about everything, but they usually find it too humiliating or unbelievable, or even justify being abused, to the point where they isolate themselves even more. Women with good support systems are generally less likely to be abused in the first place. Or STAY in these relationships. I have nothing to say about any of these laws, though.
Submitted by MaggieG at 12:01 PM Friday, August 28 2009

Don't change the legislation!

The "one strike and you are out" law for domestic abuse is VERY necessary. I have lived in a country where the legal system only recently offered this kind of protection and have seen the change that has occurred. People will abuse ANY law for personal gain , this one being no exception. I have only one question to the so called "victims" of this law...What were you thinking when you married that person?
Submitted by ProudIndian at 12:00 PM Friday, August 28 2009

Guilty until proven innocent

I remember when I was hauled off to jail. How embarrassing it was. I had just gotten home, my ex walked out the door with a great big smile on her face. She had gone next door to call the police. The police came, read me my rights and off I went. I was shocked. I had no idea what was going on. I found out that she told them that she was terrified of me and that I had sexually assaulted her. Well, she got what she wanted. She got the house and the kids, and I got a $4000 lawyer bill to prove my innocent. That was just the beginning. Now I had to get access to my kids. Another lawyer and again, prove that I was not the man she said I was. For a man, its guilty until proven innocent.
Submitted by djc101 at 11:57 AM Friday, August 28 2009

divorced women harm their kids while claiming to protect them

as i read this i cannot help but be disgusted, this is just one example of how the 'law' can be manipulated - I am a woman but my blood boils when i see what women have been allowed to get away with - and my reasoning is: all kids lover their dads just as much as they lover their moms and these women who poinson their kids minds and confuse them only harm those children - but too stupid\selfish to understand - and many times THAT Is the reason for hte divorce, not anything that realy happened... we MUST create a balance, this automati 'woman is always right' is disgusting
Submitted by karina at 11:55 AM Friday, August 28 2009

Lack of discretion

Is common place now in the legal system. The cops go only by the book, no discretion, crown only by the book, no discretion. Judges have seen so much of the same crap they just use case law and done. We had discretion in the system in the 70's we need some back. But we also have to be able to ensure the nut cases out there who have the long records of abuse get put away. That's where the discretion of Judges needs to stop, if they guy/girl has a history of abuse slam them away.
Submitted by buster013 at 11:40 AM Friday, August 28 2009

Domestic Violence is Gender Neutral

Too often, accusations of domestic violence are used to gain the upper hand in divorce court. Most often, these accusations are made by women, but it only becomes media worthy on the rare occaision that a woman is accused. GOVERNMENT OF CANADA http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/ncfv-cnivf/familyviolence/pdfs/Intimate_Partner.pdf Statistics Canada reports that "ALMOST EQUAL PROPORTIONS OF MEN AND WOMEN (7% and 8% respectively) had been the victims of intimate partner physical and psychological abuse (18% and 19% respectively). These findings were consistent with several earlier studies which reported equal rates of abuse by women and men in intimate relationships"
Submitted by Denis Pakkala at 11:36 AM Friday, August 28 2009

Been there...Done that

My ex wife sucker punched me, i YELL at her while my nose is pouring like a tap, NEVER touched her as i am holding cold cloth on my face to stop bleeding , she calls police, i am arrested ( i have zero record not even a traffic ticket to my name), police admit this was the easiest way to deal with the situation by ONLY charging ME, $4,000 for lawyer, 5 months away from house and kids, family services investigates wife and I they declare she has anger management issue, charges dropped by crown in first court hearing. Result: 12 year marriage flushed. Police discretion was certainly not apllied properly. Menatlly i suffered HUGE...i really didn't care about the money i felt like a loser and criminal. Thank you Ontario.
Submitted by opinion1967 at 11:35 AM Friday, August 28 2009

@MensRightsNow

I didn't say anything about men. I'm sure there are cases involving women initiating the violence. I simply spoke about educating young females about self esteem, b/c early education and CONSTANT education is essential in curbing domestic violence. I highly doubt that both sexes participate equally in D. violence. But another point you should consider, is that many cultures have a history of male dominance over their female counterparts. It is deeply rooted.
Submitted by jmeezi2009 at 11:34 AM Friday, August 28 2009

Another Family Law Travesty

Here's another travesty for you....a hunting partner of mine was going through a divorce. His ex made completely fabricated abuse complaints and called in a false "public safety issue" to the Canadian firearms centre. On at least three occasions, she also called the police and claimed that he was stalking her after she spotted him shopping in the same small town grocery store as she was. He ended up being charged with numerous offences and had all his firearms seized. After a lengthy court battle, he was cleared of all charges and the ex was found to have lied about everything. Shockingly, she was never charged with any offence and there were absolutely no legal consequences of any kind for her heinous actions. She should have been charged with public mischief and perjury and should have been made to pay his legal bills but she got off scott free.
Submitted by Mantis at 11:32 AM Friday, August 28 2009

abused dad story

6 months after separation, my ex called police to say I scratched her ankle with the zipper of a sweater when I threw it on the ground in front of her. The result: My arrest, detention, fingerprinting, photographing, and being released on condition I do not contact my 2 very young daughters or ex in any way. This lasted for 5 weeks before it was dismissed by the Crown. Long enough for her to get sole custody based on the status quo she created by lying. My lawyer said it happens all the time, and that lawyers often advise their clients to be the first one to the post re: such accusations to get a leg up in custodial proceeding. One of his clients was jailed for throwing an orange peel at his wife. My kids and I suffered greatly. It took a year and constant hounding for me to get the RCMP to destroy the arrest record. This must stop!
Submitted by Lorne at 11:19 AM Friday, August 28 2009

The only thing

I dislike more than Police/Crown/Court "discretion" are the stupid laws & lack of laws we have in this country & the whole English common law world. Napoleon wrote what is essentially the same laws they have now for the country of France a couple of hundred years ago & we still don't have an equivalent set of laws. Of course this means there is lots more work for lawyers which I suppose explains it. in Germany they have laws & it's the same in most western European countries; the laws protect you. Here, you have to hire lawyers which is like getting medical care in the US; lotsa money=great care. Not so much money=none or not so great care or you go bankrupt. Doubt me; wait till you call the cops next time a fraudster does you; they will tell you with a straight face to hire a lawyer.
Submitted by biker650 at 11:17 AM Friday, August 28 2009
http://www.thestar.com/news/ontario/article/687729 This is a follow-up article.
Woman jailed for abuse 'back on track'
'Zero tolerance' policy landed 'venting' wife behind bars over email about wishing for gun
Aug 29, 2009 04:30 AM
living reporter
Alison Shaw still wakes up some nights convinced she's back in an Orangeville holding cell, her fingertips covered in black ink.
"To this day, I don't understand why I was put in handcuffs and put in jail overnight," says Shaw, 42.
The Shelburne mother of three isn't all that different from many women. As her nine-year relationship with her husband Steve unravelled around her last year, Shaw took to "venting" to girlfriends via email, joking with one that she wished she had a gun to put herself out of her misery.
"I even put LOL at the end," Shaw said in an interview yesterday.
But Shelburne police weren't laughing. Nor was her estranged husband, who took it as a personal threat.
Unbeknownst to Shaw, he had been monitoring her emails for months. Shortly after she threatened to leave him back in March 2008, and take their children with her, he took the emails to Shelburne police – along with a complaint his wife had punched him in the face a month earlier at a Legion dance.
Shaw acknowledged she has a lot of regrets, especially over hitting her ex-husband when "nine years of frustration and anger just got the better of me."
Her ex couldn't be reached for comment, but Shaw was ordered into an anger-management program by the court, which, she says, "has been really helpful." Ironically, she claims, the counsellor said she needs to speak her own mind and stand up for herself more.
After her husband saw the reference to a gun in her email, Shaw faced the same wrath that divorcing dads say they've been subjected to for years at the hands of police and Ontario's criminal justice system: Police arrived at her door, slapped her in handcuffs, charged her with assault and held her in jail overnight until her mother arrived to post $5,000 bail.
While Shaw would just like to put the whole ugly incident behind her, it's ignited concerns around Ontario's "zero tolerance" domestic abuse policy.
Over a year ago Ontario Court Justice Bruce Pugsley criticized Shaw's treatment in a family law decision and expressed frustration at how it's "too commonplace" for the criminal courts to be misused by one spouse – usually it's the wife, but in this case it was the husband – to gain custody of the kids, possession of the house and an advantage in divorce proceedings.
This week well-respected family law lawyer Phil Epstein, who sat on the committee that drafted Ontario's so-called "duty to report" directive to police and Crown attorneys back in 1979, said it's time to re-examine the domestic abuse policy and create some "limited discretion."
What happened to Shaw is almost textbook: She was questioned at the police station, searched for a gun, charged and held overnight. She was released on bail, on condition she stay away from her house and her computer. In effect, her ex was given custody of the kids.
It was days until she saw them, for just half an hour, she says, and 10 months until she could step into her own home. Her mother was allowed to go in, with a list of Shaw's personal items and clothes that she stuffed into garbage bags.
The bosses at the office where Shaw works were "very understanding" when she returned from her arrest unable to focus. They let her take two months off.
"I spent that time seeing lawyers, going to court and doing the things I had to do to get back on track."
Over a year later, Shaw is in a healthy, happy relationship, she says. Her kids are with her every second week.
While he wouldn't comment on Shaw's case, Shelburne police chief Kent Moore acknowledged that domestic abuse cases are among the most difficult for police. But "zero tolerance" is a bit of a misnomer, he added. It implies that police lay charges every time they are called, when, in fact, they investigate each case, looking for a reasonable level of proof that abuse occurred.
Every suspect has to be handcuffed while in a cruiser, for the safety of officers, he stressed.
Shaw no longer has a computer.
"My girlfriend has moved to Hamilton now. We talk from time to time, but not by email. I don't talk to anybody on the computer anymore. I'm kind of afraid to."
http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/688210

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