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CRCVC IN DIRE FINANCIAL SITUATION - Karma is a bitch CRCVC!

Here is another so-called victim advocacy organization begging for the public and government’s help for money - bailing them out so they can keep working under the veil of secrecy pretending they are advocates for victims. Please, if there truly is Karma in this world, many of us believe there is "PLEASE DO NOT GIVE THE CRCVC ANY SUPPORT" as they too have a public face and private face. The private face they do not want you to see.

Jane and Janet Doe wanted to get this message out to the public as soon as possible to speak for the hundreds of victims/survivors of the “highly secretive and abusive new identities (process/program/single-service delivery) known as the AD HOC / NIVA now CSVA.

On behalf of Jane and Janet I will be posting several pieces of information and communications they had with CRCVC when they sought out their help and vocal support.

The letter the CRCVC is attaching in their plea for assistance to the various Government Department Heads and Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Please check out my site here where it lists the politicians contacted with exposing the serious situations and abusive treatment of other AD HOC / NIVA / CSVA recipients for the past 20 years that all of them have wanted to keep silent and swept under the carpet.

(Source: crcvc.ca)

CANADA: Violating Human & Civil Rights of Hundreds of Victims - 20 years!

TO THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA AND THE RESPECTIVE PROVINCIAL AND TERRITORIAL GOVERNMENTS PLEASE TAKE NOTE:

All of you are equally responsible for furthering the Human and Civil Rights violations and other abuses inflicted upon all the victims/survivors of the AD HOC / NIVA / CSVA secure identities. So far this includes Jane & Janet Doe, Cora & Molly, Candace & Amelia, Holly DeSimone, Dan Majors, and hundreds of others who may still be afraid to come forward, but we know and believe in time they will.

Canada has a state responsibility as a member of the “OAS” Organization of the American States, and the OHCHR to ensure “full compliance” with ensuring Human and Civil Rights are protected, NO EXCEPTIONS!

State Responsibility for Protection against Domestic Violence: The Case of Jessica Lenahan (Gonzales)

Posted on October 10, 2011 by Jennifer Koshan

Link:

Case considered: Jessica Lenahan (Gonzales) et al v United States, Case 12.626, Report No. 80/11 (Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, August 17, 2011)

On August 17, 2011, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) released its merits report in the case of Jessica Lenahan (Gonzales) and the United States. The case concerns states’ positive obligations to use due diligence in responding to situations of domestic violence, and is the first such case involving the U.S. to be considered by the IACHR. In what many are calling a landmark decision, the IACHR found that the United States had breached several Articles of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man in relation to its obligations to Lenahan and her children. This post will summarize the IACHR decision and analyze the implications of the case in Canada, particularly in provinces such as Alberta which have civil domestic violence legislation.

The Facts

Jessica Lenahan, a woman of Native-American and Latin-American descent, married Simon Gonzales in 1990, and they lived with their daughters Leslie, Katheryn and Rebecca in Castle Rock, Colorado. Beginning in 1996, Lenahan and the girls experienced several incidents of abusive behaviour at the hands of Gonzales, leading Lenahan to file for divorce and obtain a temporary restraining order against him in May, 1999. The restraining order provided that Gonzales was “not to molest or disturb the peace of the other party or any child” and required him to remain at least 100 yards away from the family home at all times. The order was made permanent in June 1999 and Lenahan was granted sole temporary custody of the girls, aged 7, 8 and 10. Gonzales was given access to the girls by way of a “mid-week dinner visit” that was to be arranged by him and Lenahan ahead of time, as well as parenting time on alternate weekends and during the summer. The restraining order included details of Colorado’s mandatory arrest law on its reverse side, as well as instructions for the restrained party (Gonzales) and the police. The order was entered into Colorado’s computerized central registry of restraining orders and was accessible to state and local police (IACHR merits report at paras 18, 62-64).

During the early evening of June 22, 1999 Lenahan discovered that her daughters were missing, and over the next several hours she contacted the Castle Rock Police Department (CRPD) multiple times. She advised them that she held a restraining order against Gonzales and asked the police to help her locate her daughters, whom she thought might be with their father (although no arrangements had been made for access that night). During one of the contacts Lenahan advised the police that she had learned from Gonzales’ girlfriend that he had taken the girls to a park in Denver. The police did little to respond, originally suggesting that Gonzales had a right to be with the girls because he was their father, then advising that Lenahan should try to contact Gonzales herself, and at one point, asking that she call back on a non-emergency line as it was “a little ridiculous making us freak out and thinking the kids are gone…” (at para 76). Eventually Lenahan attended at the CRPD with her 13 year old son at 12.30 a.m. This led to an officer making a request for an attempt to locate bulletin, but the bulletin was never sent as the dispatcher could not find guidelines for how to do so. At 3:25 a.m. on June 23, Gonzales drove to the CRPD station and fired shots through the window, leading to an exchange of gunfire with officers. Gonzales was fatally wounded and killed, and the deceased bodies of the 3 girls were found in his truck. There was never an investigation into the cause of death of the girls, and their autopsies did not conclusively identify whether they were killed by their father or in the crossfire of the CRPD (IACHR merits report at paras 71-85).

The IACHR also made findings with respect to the “gravity and prevalence of the problem of domestic violence in the United States, at the time of the events and the present” (at para 93). Women were recognized to constitute the majority of domestic violence victims, and the IACHR indicated that some women are at particular risk, including Native-American and low income women. The IACHR noted the phenomenon of separation violence, where abuse often escalates following separation and children are at particular risk and in need of protection, and it recognized the significance of restraining orders as an attempt by states to take domestic violence seriously. However, the IACHR also noted that “one of the most serious historical limitations of civil restraining orders has been their widespread lack of enforcement by the police,” which was often based on stereotypes about gender roles (at para. 97).

Lenahan’s claims in the United States courts

In 2001, Lenahan brought an action against the City of Castle Rock and several individual police officers in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado (a court of federal jurisdiction), claiming that the City and police officers had violated her rights under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. This clause provides that a State shall not “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law” (US Const, Amdt 14, §1). Lenahan also relied on 42 U. S. C. §1983, under which Congress created a federal cause of action for “the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitu¬tion and laws.” Although the U.S. also has a federal Violence Against Women Act, this statute only permitted claims against perpetrators of gender-based violence (see 42 U.S.C. § 13981), and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that provision to be unconstitutional on federalism grounds (see United States v Morrison, 529 U.S. 598 (2000)).

In her claim against the City and police officers, Lenahan argued that (1) she and her daughters had a right to police protection against harm from Gonzales, (2) she had a protected property interest in the enforcement of the restraining order, which was arbitrarily denied by the actions of the police, and (3) the City had failed to properly train its police officers regarding the enforcement of restraining orders, and had recklessly disregarded her right to police protection.

The District Court summarily dismissed Lenahan’s claim (Civil Action No. 00-D-1285, 2001). On appeal, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the rejection of Lenahan’s substantive due process claim, but held that she had put forward a cognizable procedural due process claim (307 F. 3d 1258 (CA10 2002), affirmed en banc 366 F. 3d 1101(CA10 2004)). On a certiorari application to the United States Supreme Court, Lenahan’s claims were all rejected, with a majority of the Court holding that she had no entitlement to police enforcement of the restraining order under the due process clause (Castle Rock v Gonzales, 545 U.S. 748, 125 S Ct 2796 (2005), Stevens and Ginsburg JJ. dissenting). According to Justice Scalia’s judgment for the majority, Colorado’s omnibus domestic violence law, passed in 2004, did not make enforcement of restraining orders mandatory (125 S Ct at 2805). Although this law included provisions for mandatory arrest of domestic violence suspects, previous case law established that police continued to have discretion in the enforcement of restraining orders (Chicago v Morales, 527 U. S. 41 (1999)), and the majority noted that the Colorado law only required that police must “use every reasonable means to enforce a restraining order” (at 2805-6, citing Colo. Rev. Stat. §18-6-803.5(3)(a), although see §18-6-803.5(3)(b), cited by the dissent, which provides that upon probable cause of a violation, “a peace officer shall arrest, or, if an arrest would be impractical under the circumstances, seek a warrant for the arrest of a restrained person.”). Further, even if the statute did make enforcement manda¬tory, this did not imply that Lenahan had a personal enti¬tlement to enforcement, as this was not clear in the statute (at 2808-9). Finally, even if Lenahan did have such an entitlement, the majority held that it was not sufficiently clear that it constituted a property interest for the purposes of the due process clause (at 2809).

IACHR decision

(a) General Principles

The IACHR is an autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), of which the United States is a member, and obtains its mandate from both the Charter of the Organization of American States, 119 U.N.T.S. 3 (1948), Article 106 (as amended) and the American Convention on Human Rights, OAS Treaty Series No. 36; 1144 UNTS 123; 9 ILM 99, Article 33 (1969). Because the U.S. is not a party to the American Convention, human rights claims against it are brought under the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, O.A.S. Res. XXX (1948) (American Declaration). There is also an Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women (Convention of Belém do Pará, 9 June 1994) that gives the IACHR certain powers, but the United States is not a party to that Convention. Claims under the American Declaration are admissible when domestic remedies have been exhausted and there is no duplication of the complaint elsewhere. In the Lenahan case, the IACHR decided that the claim was admissible under several Articles of the Declaration in IACHR Report No. 52/07 (July 24, 2007), and proceeded to hear the case on its merits.

The IACHR’s merits report focuses on Articles I, II, and VII of the American Declaration, which provide as follows:

I. Every human being has the right to life, liberty and the security of his person.

II. All persons are equal before the law and have the rights and duties established in this Declaration, without distinction as to race, sex, language, creed or any other factor. …

VII. All women, during pregnancy and the nursing period, and all children, have the right to special protection, care and aid.

The IACHR’s report began by setting out several general principles. The right to equality and non-discrimination goes beyond requiring the equal protection of the law, and mandates states to “adopt the legislative, policy and other measures necessary to guarantee the effective enjoyment of the rights protected under Article II of the American Declaration” (at para. 108). Gender based violence, including domestic violence, “is one of the most extreme and pervasive forms of discrimination, severely impairing and nullifying the enforcement of women’s rights” (at para. 110). Accordingly, “a State’s failure to act with due diligence to protect women from violence constitutes a form of discrimination, and denies women their right to equality before the law” (at para. 111). Moreover, it must be recognized that “certain groups of women [also] face discrimination on the basis of … their young age, race and ethnic origin, among others, which increases their exposure to acts of violence” (at para. 113).

Given these principles and the submissions of the parties, the IACHR stated that there were 3 issues for it to consider pertaining to Articles I, II and VII of the American Declaration. First, does Article II require member States to protect women from domestic violence? Second, what is the content and scope of the obligation, considering due diligence principles as well as the obligations in Articles I and VII of the American Declaration? Third, was the obligation violated by the State in the circumstances of the case?

(b) The legal obligation to protect women from domestic violence

The IACHR noted that the American Declaration is a source of legal obligations for all OAS member states, including those that have not ratified the American Convention. This point, likely made in response to the argument of the U.S. that the American Declaration is a non-binding, aspirational instrument (at para 106), was said to be based on the OAS Charter, which “is contained in and defined by the American Declaration, as well as the customary legal status of the rights protected under many of the Declaration‘s core provisions” (at para 115, citations omitted). The IACHR also noted that international instruments more generally, which are an important part of the context for interpreting the American Declaration, recognize that “the continuum of human rights obligations is not only negative in nature; it also requires positive action from States” (at paras 117, 118). Further, it indicated that under Article II of the Declaration, States may be found responsible for acts and omissions related to the conduct of non-state actors as well as state actors. This may include responsibility for the failure “to prevent, prosecute and sanction acts of domestic violence perpetrated by private individuals” as part of the State’s obligations to combat discrimination, both direct and indirect (at paras 119, 120, citing Report Nº 54/01, Case 12.051, Maria Da Penha Maia Fernandes (Brazil), Annual Report of the IACHR 2001, paras 3, 37-44).

(c) The content and scope of the obligation

The IACHR noted that due diligence is a long-standing principle when considering state responsibility under international law, and that there is “broad international consensus” in terms of how this principle should be applied in cases involving violence against women, reflected in “General Assembly resolutions adopted by consensus, broadly-approved declarations and platforms, treaties, views from treaty bodies, custom, jurisprudence from the universal and regional systems, and other sources of international law” (at paras 123,124, citations omitted). The IACHR laid out 4 agreed upon principles for the application of the due diligence principle in this context. First, States “may incur international responsibility for failing to act with due diligence to prevent, investigate, sanction and offer reparations for acts of violence against women”, including acts perpetrated by private actors (at para 126). Second, “States’ duty to address violence against women also involves measures to prevent and respond to the discrimination that perpetuates this problem” (at para 126). Third, there is a link “between the duty to act with due diligence and the obligation of States to guarantee access to adequate and effective judicial remedies for victims and their family members when they suffer acts of violence” (at para 127). Fourth, some women face a particular risk of violence because they face multiple forms of discrimination, including girl-children and women of certain ethnic, racial, and minority groups, and this risk “must be considered by States in the adoption of measures to prevent all forms of violence” (at para 127).

The IACHR also explained the relevance of Articles I and VII in this context. The right to life was said to be “a critical component of a State’s due diligence obligation”, and to include “the actions of those entrusted with safeguarding the security of the State, such as the police forces” (at para. 128). This duty is “especially rigorous in the case of girl-children,” implicating Article VII of the American Declaration (at para. 129, citing IACHR, Report Nº 28/07, Cases 12.496-12.498, Claudia Ivette Gonzalez and Others (Mexico), March 9, 2007, paras 247-255; I/A Court H.R., Case of González et al. (“Cotton Field”) v Mexico. Preliminary Objection, Merits, Reparations and Costs. Judgment of November 16, 2009. Series C No. 205, para 245).

In its discussion of due diligence, the IACHR referred to its earlier decision in Maria Da Penha Maia Fernandes v Brazil, supra, where it interpreted States’ due diligence obligations towards domestic violence broadly. The IACHR in that case found that there was “a general pattern of State tolerance and judicial inefficiency towards cases of domestic violence, which promoted their repetition, and reaffirmed the inextricable link between the problem of violence against women and discrimination in the domestic setting” (IACHR merits report in Lenahan at para 131).

The IACHR also noted the importance of establishing knowledge on the part of the State in order for its duty to prevent violence to be engaged. It cited as instructive rulings from the European Court of Human Rights and the Committee established under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), GA res. 34/180, 34 UN GAOR Supp. (No. 46) at 193, UN Doc. A/34/46; 1249 UNTS 13; 19 ILM 33 (1980), which provide that State responsibility for failing to protect victims from domestic violence arises when the authorities had knowledge of “a situation of real and immediate risk” to the victims presented by the perpetrator, and “the authorities failed to undertake reasonable measures to protect them from harm” (at para 132). These rulings involved scenarios where the State had already recognized a risk of harm to the victims (evidenced by, for example, issuing restraining orders, detaining the perpetrator, assisting the victims in filing complaints, and instituting criminal and child protection proceedings) and then failed to protect the victims in spite of this knowledge of risk (at para 132). The duty to protect is one of “reasonable means, and not results,” requiring the State “to take reasonable measures that [have] a real prospect of altering the outcome or mitigating the harm” (at para 134, citing European Court of Human Rights, Case of Opuz v Turkey, Application No. 33401/02, 9 June 2009, para 136; E. and Others v the United Kingdom, no. 33218/96, para 99.) The European Court has also stated that authorities should consider the broader context of domestic violence, including its prevalence, its hidden nature, and the possibility that the victim’s withdrawal of a complaint may be due to threats by the aggressor, and require investigation. The State’s failure to protect does not need to be intentional to constitute a breach of its obligations (at para 134, citing Case of Opuz v Turkey, para 191).

(d) Application to the Facts

From the materials it cited, the IACHR effectively synthesized a two-part test for state responsibility in cases of domestic violence (at para 137): “i) whether the state authorities at issue should have known that the victims were in a situation of imminent risk of domestic violence; and ii) whether the authorities undertook reasonable measures to protect them from these acts.” It noted that the activities of the police as well as other state actors were relevant, and proceeded to apply this test to the facts.

On the issue of the authorities’ knowledge of the risk faced by the victims, the IACHR pointed to the restraining order granted by a Colorado court, which named both Lenahan and her daughters as beneficiaries and expressly indicated that “physical or emotional harm” would result if Gonzales was not restrained. It also noted that the order included directions for Gonzales and law enforcement officers, in line with Colorado’s mandatory arrest legislation, and that the order could only be varied by the court. According to the IACHR, “the issuance of a restraining order signals a State’s recognition of risk that the beneficiaries would suffer harm from domestic violence on the part of the restrained party, and need State protection” (at para 142). The restraining order was “a key component in determining whether the State authorities should have known that the victims were in a situation of imminent risk of domestic violence upon breach of the terms of the order”, as well as “an indicator of which actions could have been reasonably expected from the authorities” (at para 143).

Turning to the second issue, and in contrast to the U.S. Supreme Court’s majority ruling, the IACHR noted that the terms of the restraining order dealing with enforcement were strict, using the word “shall”. This language “expressly mandates law enforcement officials … to act diligently to either arrest or to seek a warrant for the arrest of the aggressor in the presence of information amounting to probable cause of a violation” (at para 144). Further, “the State was obligated to ensure that its apparatus responded effectively and in a coordinated fashion to enforce the terms of this order to protect the victims from harm” (at para 145). More specifically, the State should have ensured that the authorities responsible for enforcement were aware of the restraining order and its terms, that they understood their duties around enforcement, that they understood the dynamics of domestic violence, and that they were trained to respond to reports of potential violations of the restraining order. The IACHR stated that “[a] proper response would have required the existence of protocols or directives and training on how to implement restraining orders, and how to respond to calls such as those placed by Jessica Lenahan” (at para 145).

The IACHR found that these duties were not met in the circumstances. Through Lenahan’s numerous contacts with the CRPD, in which she informed them of the restraining order and that she was afraid Gonzales had the girls without her permission, the CRPD was made aware of the existence of the order. The CRPD was therefore reasonably expected to review the order, to investigate whether the order had been breached, and finding probable cause, to arrest or issue a warrant for the arrest of Gonzales (at paras 146-7). The IACHR noted the existence of national law enforcement guidelines available to the CRPD that provide factors and red flags to consider in determining the level of risk flowing from a potential restraining order violation, some of which were present in this case (e.g. threats of suicide, a history of domestic violence, separation of the parties, and access to weapons). However, the IACHR found that the CRPD “failed to undertake the mentioned investigation actions with the required diligence and without delay,” and that “[i]ts response can be at best characterized as fragmented, uncoordinated and unprepared; consisting of actions that did not produce a thorough determination of whether the terms of the restraining order at issue had been violated” (at para 150). There was no evidence that Lenahan’s restraining order had ever been thoroughly reviewed by the police, there was a lack of communication between police dispatchers and officers, the CRPD had not contacted the Denver police in spite of the information provided by Lenahan, there was no check of Gonzales’ criminal background or contacts with police (which showed a pattern of emotional problems and unpredictable behavior), and there appeared to be no protocols, directives or training in place to guide the police response (at paras 152-7). The IACHR repudiated the State’s argument that Lenahan had not informed the police that the restraining order had been violated, noting its concern that “States mistakenly take the position that victims are themselves responsible for monitoring the preventive measures, which leaves them defenseless and in danger of becoming the victims of the assailant’s reprisals” (at para 158, citing its report Access to Justice for Women Victims of Violence in the Americas, OEA/Ser. L/V/II. doc. 68, January 20, 2007, para 170). In addition to these “systemic failures” on the part of the police, the IACHR also found that the FBI had breached its obligations by approving the purchase of a gun by Gonzales on June 22, 1999, in spite of his criminal record and the existence of the restraining order (at para 159).

These failures to act with due diligence in spite of the recognized risk to Lenahan and her daughters were found to amount to discrimination contrary to Article II of the American Declaration. Although the IACHR recognized “the legislation and programmatic efforts of the United States to address the problem of domestic violence,” it found that “these measures had not been sufficiently put into practice in the present case” (at para 161). The IACHR also stated that “the failure of the United States to adequately organize its state structure” to protect Lenahan’s daughters amounted to a violation of their rights under Articles I and VII of the American Declaration (at para 164). These articles imposed on the State a “positive obligation to protect and prevent violations” of the right to life, and a “reinforced duty of due diligence to protect them from harm and from deprivations of their life due to their age and sex” (at para 164). The IACHR noted the false assumption of the police that the girls were safe because they were with the father, the lack of evidence of any protocols or training with respect to the risks to children in these circumstances, and the insensitive response of the police to Lenahan. On a systemic level, “this form of mistreatment results in a mistrust that the State structure can really protect women and girl-children from harm, which reproduces the social tolerance toward these acts” (at para 167, citing Access to Justice for Women Victims of Violence in the Americas, paras 172-180). Put another way, “State inaction towards … violence against women fosters an environment of impunity and promotes the repetition of violence “since society sees no evidence of willingness by the State, as the representative of the society, to take effective action to sanction such acts”” (at para 168, quoting Maria Da Penha Fernandes, para 56).

(e) Other Relevant Articles

The IACHR also considered Article XVIII of the American Declaration, which provides:

XVIII. Every person may resort to the courts to ensure respect for his legal rights. There should likewise be available to him a simple, brief procedure whereby the courts will protect him from acts of authority that, to his prejudice, violate any fundamental constitutional rights.

As with the other articles it considered, the IACHR noted that Article XVIII is to be interpreted through the lens of due diligence, which is to be demonstrated by the State not only by the formal existence of laws, but also by their implementation. In the context of domestic violence, where state actors have failed to protect women from imminent acts of violence,

the State also has the obligation to investigate systemic failures to prevent their repetition in the future. This involves an impartial, serious and exhaustive investigation of the State structures that were involved in the enforcement of a protection order, including a thorough inquiry into the individual actions of the public officials involved. … The State should undertake this systemic inquiry on its own motion and promptly. A delay in this inquiry constitutes a form of impunity in the face of acts of violence against women and promotes their repetition (at paras 178-9).

Again, the State’s duties in this context were said to be heightened in the case of girl-children given their right to special protection under the American Declaration. According to the IACHR, “Compliance with this State obligation is critical to sending a social message in the United States that violence against girl-children will not be tolerated, and will not remain in impunity, even when perpetrated by private actors” (at para 195).

Applying these principles to the facts of the case, the IACHR found that the State had breached Article XVIII in its failure to investigate the circumstances surrounding the non-enforcement of the restraining order, as well as its failure to investigate the time, place and circumstances surrounding the deaths of Lenahan’s daughters and its failure to communicate the results of such an investigation to her (at para 196). The IACHR noted that it did not have sufficient information to rule on Lenahan’s claim that there was also a breach of her right to access to the courts under Article XVIII, and it ruled that her claims under Article XXIV (the right to submit petitions to a competent authority) and Article IV (the right to freedom of investigation, opinion, and expression) had already been addressed under Article XVIII.

(f) Recommendations

The IACHR made several recommendations to the United States. Some concerned specific duties towards Jessica Lenahan regarding investigation and reparations. Other recommendations were more systemic in nature, and concerned, for example, the obligation to adopt or reform existing legislation to make the enforcement of restraining orders mandatory and to provide protection measures for children in the domestic violence context, and to properly implement such laws through adequate resources, including training, protocols and directives. Even more broadly, the IACHR recommended that the United States

continue adopting public policies and institutional programs aimed at restructuring the stereotypes of domestic violence victims, and to promote the eradication of discriminatory socio-cultural patterns that impede women and children’s full protection from domestic violence acts, including programs to train public officials in all branches of the administration of justice and police, and comprehensive prevention programs (at para 201).

The IACHR closed by noting that it would monitor the steps taken by the United States to comply with its recommendations until there has been full compliance (at para 216).

Implications of Lenahan in Canada

The IACHR decision in Lenahan is significant for its synthesis of principles surrounding state responsibility for domestic violence under the Inter-American system of human rights (and indeed under international human rights law more broadly). Most significant in my opinion are the connections the IACHR draws between domestic violence and discrimination against women and girl-children, as well as the link between a state’s failure to adequately respond to domestic violence and the ways in which this culture of tolerance and impunity may perpetuate further acts of violence. To make these findings in the context of a developed nation that has domestic violence laws on the books is highly significant.

The IACHR’s connection between systemic state inaction and the perpetuation of violence against women suggests a causal link, something that has been a thorny issue domestically. For example, in B.M. v British Columbia (Attorney General), 2001 BCSC 419, a woman’s claim in negligence against the RCMP for failing to protect herself and her daughters from domestic violence was dismissed on the basis of lack of causation. B.M. had complained to the RCMP about threatening actions by her estranged and abusive common law husband R.K., and was told to contact a lawyer to get a restraining order and to “stay in public places in the future” (although she lived in a rural area) (at para 22). A few weeks later, R.K. broke into B.M.’s home, shot and killed her best friend (who had urged B.M. to escape through a window), shot and wounded her 12 year old daughter, set the house on fire, and fatally shot himself. A second daughter (aged 6) witnessed the aftermath of the shooting. The B.C. Supreme Court dismissed B.M.’s action in negligence, finding that while the RCMP had a duty of care, the actions of the officer in question did not cause or materially contribute to the shootings (at para 61). This finding was made even though the officer was aware of and failed to comply with investigative policies for relationship violence in B.C. According to the court, the police were “guardians, not guarantors, of public wellbeing” (at para 64). An appeal to the B.C. Court of Appeal was dismissed, as was leave to appeal to the Supreme Court (B.M. v British Columbia (Attorney General), 2004 BCCA 402 (Donald, J.A. dissenting); Mooney v Canada (Attorney General), [2004] SCCA No. 428).

Could B.M. have brought a complaint against Canada to the IACHR following her failure to obtain relief from the Canadian courts? Canada is in a similar position to the United States in that it is not a party to the American Convention or the Convention of Belém do Pará, but as a member of the OAS, it is subject to the American Declaration and the jurisdiction of the IACHR. However, B.M. did not claim that the state had breached any of her Charter rights, so she may not have exhausted her domestic remedies. It may be that the outcome in B.M. would have been different had she mounted a claim of discrimination under section 15 of the Charter, as there is precedent in Canada for state liability for inaction on violence against women under the Charter (see Jane Doe v Metropolitan Toronto (Municipality) Commissioners of Police, [1998] OJ No 2681, 74 OR (2d) 225 (Div Ct), leave to appeal dismissed [1991] OJ No 3673 (CA), and see Elizabeth Sheehy, “Causation, Common Sense, and the Common Law: Replacing Unexamined Assumptions with What We Know About Male Violence Against Women or from Jane Doe to Bonnie Mooney” (2006) 17 CJWL 97).

What are the implications of the IACHR merits report in Lenahan outside the litigation context? Following Lenahan, the principles that govern state obligations for domestic violence in Canada should be seen to include the following (keeping in mind that the implementation of these obligations may be federal or provincial, depending on the constitutional division of powers):

■governments may be responsible for failing to act with due diligence to prevent, investigate, sanction and remedy acts of domestic violence, including acts perpetrated by private actors

■the duty of governments to respond to domestic violence mandates a contextual approach as well as measures to prevent and respond to the underlying discrimination against women that is inherent in this problem

■the duty to act with due diligence includes an obligation to guarantee access to adequate and effective judicial remedies for victims and their families when they experience acts of domestic violence

■in their adoption of measures to prevent domestic violence, governments must recognize that some women face a particular risk of violence because they face multiple forms of discrimination

■government responsibility for failing to protect victims from domestic violence arises when the authorities knew or should have known of a situation of real and immediate risk to the victims created by the perpetrator, and failed to undertake reasonable measures that had a real prospect of altering the outcome or mitigating the harm to the victims

■a government’s failure to protect victims of domestic violence need not be intentional to constitute a breach of its obligations

■restraining orders indicate a government’s recognition that the beneficiaries may experience domestic violence at the hands of the restrained party and require state protection

■governments must ensure that those responsible for enforcing restraining orders are aware of the orders’ terms, understand their duties around enforcement and the dynamics of domestic violence, and are trained to respond to potential breaches

■a failure to meet these duties may amount to violations of the victims’ rights, including the right to life and the right against discrimination.

In Alberta, the government has responded to domestic violence through the enactment of civil protection legislation, the Protection Against Family Violence Act, RSA 2000, c P-27 (PAFVA). As noted in previous ABlawg posts (see e.g. here), the PAFVA allows family members to apply for emergency protection orders (EPOs) in cases of family violence on an ex parte basis, as well as for longer term Queen’s Bench Protection Orders (QBPOs). This legislation was enacted largely to deal with problems related to the inaccessibility of restraining orders, which require an underlying court action and are only available through the Court of Queen’s Bench during regular sittings (see Alberta Law Reform Institute, Domestic Abuse: Toward an Effective Legal Response, Report for Discussion No 15 (Edmonton: ALRI, 1995) at 14 – 18). Based on Lenahan, it would be reasonable to say that the PAFVA constitutes recognition by the Alberta government that family violence is a problem requiring a specialized legislative solution.

However, the police obligation to enforce protection orders under Alberta law is unclear. As of November 1, 2011, when amendments to the PAFVA take effect, section 13.1 will create the offence of failing to comply with a protection order. As I noted in a post on this and the other amendments, no specific arrest powers have been added to the PAFVA in relation to this offence. Although EPOs and QBPOs often set out powers of arrest for breaches, this may not always be the case. Section 3 of the Provincial Offences Procedure Act, RSA 2000, c P-34, incorporates the Criminal Code provisions on summary conviction matters for provincial offences such as section 13.1 of the PAFVA, and under section 495(1) (b) of the Criminal Code, peace officers may only make warrantless arrests for such offences where they find the person in question committing the offence. Before the addition of section 13.1, breaches of EPOs could be charged under section 127 of the Criminal Code, an indictable offence allowing for arrests without a warrant where the officer has reasonable grounds to believe a lawful court order has been breached (Criminal Code, section 495(1)(a)). Police arrest powers for violations of protection orders under the PAFVA thus appear to be restricted by the addition of section 13.1, which was likely not intended.

Alberta has a Domestic Violence Handbook For Police and Crown Prosecutors in Alberta (Alberta Justice, 2008), which is a laudable effort towards achieving its responsibilities around domestic violence. The “Best Practices for Police” section of the Handbook indicates that procedures should be established for “The mandatory laying of charges where there are reasonable grounds to do so, including cases where there is a breach of bail condition, probation, parole, or protection order” (at 47). The Handbook also states that “if the suspect is not present when officers arrive, and reasonable grounds exist to lay a charge, a warrant for the arrest of the suspect should be obtained as soon as possible. … Every reasonable effort should be made to locate and apprehend the suspect” (at 54). It is unclear whether the “charges” referred to in the Handbook will be interpreted to include section 13.1 of the PAFVA or whether the Handbook will require revision to have this effect.

As I have argued previously, I believe the PAFVA should be amended to clarify that police have the power to arrest respondents without a warrant where there are reasonable and probable grounds to believe they have breached a protection order. The principles on state responsibility articulated by the IACHR in Lenahan suggest that an amendment setting out clear powers of arrest for breaches, coupled with a revision to the Handbook stipulating when those powers should be exercised, would be consonant with the government’s duties around the prevention of domestic violence. States are required to act not only formally through the creation of domestic violence laws, but also have an obligation to ensure the effective enforcement of those laws. Other provinces have recognized this obligation by including specific powers of arrest for breaches of protection orders in their family violence legislation (see e.g. Nova Scotia’s Domestic Violence Intervention Act, SNS 2001, c 29, s 19).

The IACHR decision in Lenahan undoubtedly has other implications in Canada (for example, in relation to state responsibility for missing and murdered Aboriginal women, which is the subject of an inquiry currently underway in BC). It is to be hoped that the federal government and provinces will closely review Lenahan to determine whether they are in compliance with this very important ruling on state responsibility for preventing violence against women and girls.

REMEMBER:
Jessica Lenahan Gonzales took the United States Government on and she won. We will do the same against the Canadian and other Provincial/territorial Governments who remained silent because they too, participated in the same abusive actions you did. The world will take notice because the tables always seem to turn; big doors open on small hinges!

One Response to State Responsibility for Protection against Domestic Violence: The Case of Jessica Lenahan (Gonzales)

The Government of Canada’s Promises, but do they practice what they preach? Canada has been exposed time and time again for its serious violations but this is what they say in words to make it sound good.

Human rights is a central theme of Canadian foreign policy for a number of reasons:

•Canadians expect their government to be a leader in the field of human rights by reflecting and promoting Canadian values.

•Canadians recognise that their interests are best served by a stable, rules-based international system. Countries which respect the rule of law tend to respect the rights of their citizens, are more likely to benefit from development, and are much less likely to experience crises requiring peacekeeping, emergency assistance or refugee resettlement missions.

•The UN Charter and customary international law impose on all countries the responsibility to promote and protect human rights. This is not merely a question of values, but a mutual obligation of all members of the international community, as well as an obligation of a state towards its citizens.

Seven principal human rights treaties which Canada has ratified:

1. International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

2. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
Optional Protocol (allowing individual complaints)
Second Optional Protocol (aiming at abolishing the death penalty)

3. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
Optional Protocol (permitting individual complaints)

4. Convention Against Torture
5. Convention for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

6. Convention on the Rights of the Child
Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict
Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography

7. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Status of Ratifications


For more information:
•What are human rights?
•Canada’s Commitment to Human Rights
•Canada’s Committment to Gender Equality
•Children’s Rights
•Universal Periodic Review
•Discrimination
•Funding opportunities: The Glyn Berry Program
•Government Response (PDF Version, 139 KB)* to the 2007 Interim Report of the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights – “Canada and the United Nations Human Rights Council: At the Crossroads” (PDF version, 610 KB)*

——————————————————————-

(Source: ablawg.ca)

Red Cross whistleblower Virgil Grandfield exposes modern slavery and human trafficking in the aid industry

Red Cross whistleblower Virgil Grandfield exposes modern slavery and human trafficking in the aid industry

Virgil Grandfield was featured in the national media last week when Radio Canada’s TV documentary series Enquette broke the story about extensive use of modern slave labour in the Canadian Red Cross’ rebuilding projects in 2004-tsunami-struck Indonesia. An English CBC TV report and national print media articles followed, as well as a radio magazine report on CBC’s The Current.

A press conference in Ottawa with Green Party leader Elizabeth May is scheduled early this week (March 30th) and a new Facebook group is gathering attention: Trafficking is not Canadian, Red Cross: Pay Tsunami Workers. Two one-hour radio interviews with Virgil Grandfield were scheduled on campus radio in Ottawa (CHUO 89.1 FM) on March 25th and April 1st 2010: Train Radio podcast and live-stream.

Virgil Grandfield is a Canadian international aid worker. In 1999-2000, he worked with a project evaluation unit for the Disasters Emergency Committee (the UK funding agency for disasters) in Central America after Hurricane Mitch. He became an Overseas Delegate for the Canadian Red Cross in 2002, after serving as Red Cross team leader on floods on the Blood Reserve in Standoff, Alberta. In 2003-2004 he researched a cover story on migrant worker issues on the U.S.-Mexico border for Red Cross Red Crescent magazine. In 2005-2006, he was Information Delegate for the tsunami operation of the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies in Aceh, Indonesia. He returned to Aceh in 2007 to work for the Canadian Red Cross and resigned as a delegate in 2008.

Grandfield quit the Canadian Red Cross in 2008 after many efforts to have his internal complaints addressed that contractors hired by the Red Cross to rebuild after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami used slave labor in which workers were brought in from distant jurisdictions using false recruitment, were retained by geographical distance and deception, were not paid, and were subjected to harsh conditions; and after he was told in writing by the Red Cross that the corporation would no longer communicate with him about his complaints.

Grandfield has stated that he has been consistently motivated by a moral duty to protect exploited groups and that he feels compelled to help the abused workers and their families to obtain justice and regain their dignity. After leaving the Red Cross, he mortgaged his house and returned to Aceh in 2009 with an investigative and advocacy organization that he organized called Brigade Cahaya (“The Light Brigade”) which has been responsible for uncovering and making public the human rights disaster in which some 50,000 or more Javanese construction workers were victims of human trafficking on UN, Red Cross and other NGO tsunami projects in Aceh, as amply reported in the leading national media in Indonesia (e.g., print media [1][2][3][4]).

The Canadian Red Cross’ corporate communication reaction in the scandal has been shameful. The Red Cross has gone as far as to state that most of Grandfield’s statements about the Red Cross are simply untrue allegations and that only 40 workers under the Red Cross were affected, while at least one of the corporation’s own internal reports based on an inadequate investigation conveys larger numbers. It appears that the Red Cross is in cover up mode – trying to portray the problem as an unfortunate accident that escaped its normal vigilance – rather than being genuinely interested in finding the truth, recognizing the problem, and doing the necessary to never allow this to occur again.

In an particularly unprincipled display of irresponsibility the Red Cross has attempted to trade off the harm done to the slave labourers against the benefits from the houses built for the the tsunami victims. The Enquette documentary shows that the villagers themselves in their new houses witnessed and are deeply concerned about how the underfed transported workers were treated during construction.

As an experienced international aid professional, Grandfield is making concrete recommendations for reforms that would bring the Canadian aid industry/enterprise in line with the better international standards practiced by other Western nations. The Red Cross needs reform and oversight. Grandfield hopes Canadians will be given more opportunity to learn how their aid dollars are spent and that Members of Parliament will help move us towards a more Canadian way.

[Note: Some sections of the present report are modified and/or taken from the Wikipedia article about Virgil Grandfield contributed by Wikipedia editor Denis Rancourt.]

- Author Denis Rancourt is a member of Canadian for Accountability.

(For all the posts by Canadians for Accountability Blog contributor Denis Rancourt click the label “DENISR“.)

(Source: canadians4accountability.org)

Sheldon Kennedy; Canadian Red Cross Spokesperson

2nd Part of Sheldon Kennedy, Victims Advocate Remember about the claim in the previous posting about political involvement and all the pictures and rubbing shoulders with politicians, premiers…

Sheldon is the “Spokesperson for the Canadian Red Cross.” The Canadian Red Cross “claims” to take a passionate and active interest in the domestic violence cause, protecting the vulnerable…STAY TUNED for Jane & Janet Doe’s expose of the Red Cross when they were contacted.

Plus, the following post after this one is an expose by a Canadian Red Cross worker regarding the Red Cross - Human Trafficking and modern day slavery.

Question: Can you see the same “peas in a pod?”

Sheldon Kennedy Biography

Sheldon Kennedy
Respect Group Inc.

Sheldon Kennedy was born June 15, 1969 in Brandon, Manitoba. He skated for three teams in his eight-year NHL career (Detroit Red Wings, Calgary Flames and Boston Bruins) and played for Canada’s gold medal winning team in the 1988 World Junior Hockey Championship. He was also Captain of the Memorial Cup winning Swift

Current Broncos in 1989. He is best known for his courageous decision to charge his Major Junior Hockey league coach with sexual assault for the abuse he suffered over a five year period while a teenager under his care. Sheldon’s subsequent decision to go public with the charges brought these issues to the social forefront. Sheldon has become an unofficial spokesperson for millions of abuse survivors around the world.

His life story was made into an award winning television movie and he has appeared on Oprah, ABC’s Nightline, W-5, The Fifth Estate and was nominated as Peter Jennings’ Man of the Week. After retiring from the NHL, Sheldon in-line skated across Canada to raise awareness of abuse issues. In 2006, Sheldon wrote “Why I Didn’t Say Anything” a riveting account of the many psychological impacts of abuse. Sheldon’s ongoing work “in the trenches” has led to his passion to make change through advocating for victims and supporting legislative changes that serve to better protect Canadian youth from abuse. Having transformed his own personal situation into positive action, Sheldon continues to carry his message through Respect Group Inc., the company he co-founded. Respect Group Inc (RGI) provides empowering on-line education for youth serving organizations, schools and the workplace. The Respect in Sport program, alone, has trained over 150,000 coaches in the prevention of abuse, bullying and harassment.

Speaking and Media Highlights
 Witness – US Senate Hearing – Breaking the Silence on Child Abuse – Washington DC, Dec 2011
 Keynote Speaker – Canadian Injury Prevention Conference – Vancouver – Nov 2011
 Keynote Speaker – Western Regional Coalition to End Violence – Corner Brook NFLD – Nov 2011
 Testimony supporting Bill C-1 – House of Commons of Canada – Ottawa – October 2011
 Witness at the Senate Committee of Canada – Ottawa – October 2011
 Keynote Speaker – Power, Fame & Recovery: Addiction/Wellness in the Public Eye – Florida – Sep 2011
 Keynote Speaker – Alberta Specialized Law Enforcement Training – Edmonton – Sep 2011
 Presenter – Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security – Ottawa – Nov 2010

Organizational Involvement Past and Present
 International Olympic
Committee – Medical
Committee – Athlete
Representative Consensus Statement on Sexual Abuse in Sport
 Hockey Canada –
Consultant – Risk Management Programming
Canadian Red Cross – Consultant and International Spokesperson for RespectED program
 Ralston House – Community service for victims of abuse – Denver, Colorado – Board Member
 Calgary Child Advocacy
Centre – Calgary, Alberta – Board Member and Spokesperson
 Guest – George Stroumboulopoulos Show – CBC Television – 2010, 2008
 Keynote Speaker – Ralston House – Governor’s Mansion – Denver, Colorado – September 2009
 Keynote Speaker –Victims of Crime Week – Canadian Federal Department of Justice – April 2008
 Keynote Speaker – Child Exploitation Centre Crime Symposium – RCMP – 2007
 Jim Rome Show – Syndicated Los Angeles Sport Show “Best Ever Interview” – 1998, 2001, 2006
 Numerous Documentaries Including “Close to Home” – Winner New York Film
Festival and runner-up Sundance Film Festival – Produced by Mark McGuire Foundation – 2002
 Oprah Winfrey Show – 2 appearances 1997, 2002
 Keynote Speaker – International FBI Symposium on Violent Sex Crimes
(Barrie, Ontario, – 2001)
 CTV Feature Movie – 1999 (Nominated for 9 and winner of four Gemini Awards)
 Peter Jennings Man of the Week – 1998
 Cross Canada In –Line Skate to raise awareness of Abuse – May 1998 – Oct 1998
 Included hundreds of speaking engagements at Schools, Community Centres, City Halls, Legislative Buildings, Prisons, and Aboriginal Communities. Donated proceeds from skate, totaling $1.2 M, to the Canadian Red Cross – Abuse Prevention Services.
 Globe and Mail Newsmaker of the Year – 1997

Calgary Board of Education
Link: http://projects.cbe.ab.ca/sss/teamingup/docs/Bio-SheldonKennedy-branded.pdf

Sheldon Kennedy - Two Faces Of A Victims’ Advocate

What are Sheldon Kennedy’s true intentions, values, and beliefs as an alleged “Victims’ Advocate” and “Victim/Survivor?” Who has all of a sudden branded himself as an “unofficial victims’ advocate” but when he first started his advocacy branded himself as a “victims’ advocate.”

Does he practice what he preaches privately, out of the public’s eye? Where are his true loyalties after reading the following information?

Sheldon Kennedy, Celebrity & Victim’s Advocate and Respect Group Inc. (Sheldon Kennedy Foundation)

• Sheldon Kennedy

• Holly Abraham

• Wayne McNeil

COMMUNICATIONS SENT TO Sheldon and the Respect Group Inc. seeking their public advocacy and support in a Canadian precedent setting case for victims’ of crime:

• Nigel Empett, Advocate for Jane and Janet Doe

• Mischa Ahonkova, Advocate for Jane and Janet Doe

• Jane Doe, Victim/Survivor (Mom)

• Janet Doe, Victim/Survivor (Young Daughter)

1. April 2011 - Phone call from Nigel to Wayne McNeil.

2. May 4th, 2011 - Email from Mischa to Holly Abraham.

3. May 4th, 2011 - Email from Holly Abraham to Mischa; Holly forwarded info to Sheldon.

4. May 16th, 2011 - Phone call from Nigel to Holly Abraham; left voicemail for a call back.

5. May 16th, 2011 - Phone call from Jane Doe to Holly Abraham; left voicemail for a call back.

6. May 17th, 2011 - Email from Nigel To Holly Abraham.

7. May 19th, 2011 - Email response received from Holly Abraham to Nigel.

8. May 20, 2011 - Email response received from Holly Abraham to Nigel.

9. May 24, 2011 - Email from Nigel to Holly Abraham.

10. May 24, 2011 - Email from Holly Abraham to Nigel

(It appears that the font used by Holly in her response is different from the font used for the information copy and pasted in between Holly’s portion. This blog does not show the difference but the original Email does).

Here is a copy of that Email for your review:

From: habraham@respectgroupinc.com

To: nempett@hotmail.com

Subject: RE: The Doe Family

: Tue, 24 May 2011 15:14:58 -0400

Hello Nigel,

Sheldon has steered clear of getting involved in any specific personal issue since he is inundated, DAILY, with similar requests and by taking one, opens the doors to others. The door would never close! Sheldon is also just another victim; not a resident expert on legislation, protocol, or legalities surrounding this situation. He has no political influence or ties (deliberately) in Alberta. He has tried to stay unbiased when it comes to Provincial politics. That said, he finds this situation very sad and disturbing and he suggests two things that both focus on driving accountability;

Have a trusted lawyer work on the victims’ behalf and have this brought forward to the Province in that regard. If the lawyer has all the facts, which appear straightforward according to the parties involved, there should be no issue in going forward on that basis.

Take the same facts to the Alberta Wild Rose party (they appear to be already aware) since they are in the best place, right now, to challenge political “accountability”. Have them take this up with the Conservative Government/media. They have excellent visibility with the looming election in the fall.

I know it is not the response you were hoping for, but I hope you understand his position.

I wish you all the best.

Kind Regards,

Holly

Holly Abraham C.R.M. 416-529-8954

sport * workplace * school

SHELDON KENNEDY & POLITICAL FIGURES:

Sheldon Kennedy with Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Sheldon Kennedy with Premier Alison Redford

Sheldon Kennedy with Blake Richards, MP

"…Former Flame Sheldon Kennedy is teaming up with Wild Rose MP Blake Richards to promote the fourth annual Wild Rose Hockey Challenge.

The popular charity hockey game between federal MPs and provincial MLAs is a major fundraising initiative in support of four victims’ assistance units: the Bow Valley Victim Services Association, the Airdrie and District Victim Assistance Society, the Cochrane and Area Victim Services Society and the Chinook Arch Victim Services Society. Last year’s event raised $83,000.

News Link: http://www.heresthescoop.com/index.php/community-events.html

Player to be traded, assistant coach resigns in hockey hazing fallout

NEEPAWA, Man. — The Globe and Mail

Last updated Thursday, Sep. 06 2012, 10:31 AM EDT

>“Sheldon Kennedy gave him his personal cell phone (number) and said `any time you want to talk to me about this just phone me, doesn’t matter what time of day it is’,” the father said.

Is this a double-standard? Sheldon gives one answer to the Does ie. young Janet Doe in the Email above. Yet, when Sheldon gets the media spotlight and attention there is a difference; public face vs. private face.

Sheldon Kennedy’s statements made in the media:

SHELDON KENNEDY’S POSITIVE STATE

BY ERIC FRANCIS ,CALGARY SUN

FIRST POSTED: WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 09, 2011 10:30 PM MST | UPDATED:

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 09, 2011 11:00 PM MST

…”But you cannot be excused for ignoring abuse.” and …Kennedy added. “I don’t think we’ll ever stop abuse from happening, but we can stop it from being institutionalized. With education, we can police ourselves.”

Question Mr. Kennedy isn’t Government, Advocacy Groups, Women’s Shelters etc. included in the “institutionalized abuse.” Yet, for Jane and Janet Doe you also remained silent?

My understanding of the meaning and inclusion of “Institution” is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institution

Institutionalized abuse has been around for decades - reminder “Residential School System Abuse” and the abusers included the Government and the Church…

MORE INFORMATION ON SHELDON KENNEDY:

Sheldon Kennedy as a "BOARD OF DIRECTOR" - Other Organizations “Past or Present:

1. Sheldon Kennedy Foundation; Calgary, AB Canada

2. Respect Group Inc.; Calgary, AB Canada

3. Child Advocacy Centre; Calgary, AB Canada

4. Ralston House; Colorado, USA

5. Canadian Society for the - Investigation of Culinary Abuse; Calgary, AB Canada

MORE INFORMATION ON SHELDON KENNEDY:

In the following article Alberta Government Minister, Lyle Oberg is referenced. Lyle Oberg is also a named Defendant in the Jane and Janet Doe legal action currently before the courts since August 2011.

Alberta Welcomes Sheldon Kennedy

Ralph’s Log Book

Tuesday, September 1, 1998

Recently I had the pleasure of attending a banquet in Edmonton with NHL veteran Sheldon Kennedy. I was inspired by his dedication and commitment to the foundation that bears his name. The Sheldon Kennedy Foundation was established in 1997 by Sheldon Kennedy and his wife, Jana. The goal of the foundation is to raise public awareness about child abuse.

On May 30, Sheldon Kennedy left St. John’s, Newfoundland, and began an 8,000-km journey across Canada. The intent of his cross-Canada in-line skate is to raise awareness and understanding of the issue of child abuse, and to raise funds for the construction of Anaphe Ranch, a summer haven for individuals and families coping with the trauma of child abuse. Construction on the ranch, named after the Greek goddess who was the protector of children, will begin in the spring of 1999.

On August 23, Sheldon Kennedy crossed the Saskatchewan border and was welcomed to Alberta by Rob Renner, M.L.A. for Medicine Hat. It was a warm welcome home for Mr. Kennedy, who lives in Calgary with his wife and daughter.

The Government of Alberta is proud to support Sheldon Kennedy and his foundation. On August 25, Family and Social Services Minister, Dr. Lyle Oberg, presented a cheque for $25,000 on behalf of the Government of Alberta to Mr. Kennedy at a luncheon in Brooks, organized by the Brooks Chamber of Commerce. The grant is to assist the foundation in its efforts to enlighten the public on the very real and pervasive issue of child abuse. It is my hope that this grant will help make Anaphe Ranch a reality.

You know, it takes a lot of physical strength to play in the NHL, as Sheldon did. But it takes a lot of inner strength to publicly confront the trauma of the past. That’s what Sheldon has done. And the amount of awareness he’s raised since his story was told has been phenomenal. Thousands of Canadians, and others worldwide, have been touched and helped by what he’s done. The perseverance Sheldon Kennedy has shown throughout his cross-Canada journey is inspiring.

Earlier this year, my wife Colleen and I established the Ralph Klein Charitable Foundation. I am pleased that the proceeds from our golf tournament this fall will go to the Sheldon Kennedy cross Canada skate for abused kids. I encourage you to lend your support, in any way you can, to this remarkable individual who is helping to make a difference in so many lives. I know that Sheldon would appreciate receiving the support and encouragement of his fellow Albertans.

Throughout the “Sweet Justice” Blog we have been revealing the intertwined relationships that supports the victims’ claims of not being helped and a key reason why? Political piggybacking, self-serving interests just to name a few. In the ACWS release the 3 main connections Jane and Janet Doe want to expose are:

1. Jan Reimer ACWS, Provincial Coordinator

2. Alison Redford, Premier of Alberta (Human Rights lawyer, previous AB Justice Minister…)

3. Sheldon Kennedy, Victims’ Advocate/Activist

NOTE: Alison Redford is a named Defendant in Jane and Janet Does’ legal action filed in the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta - August 2011.

ACWS Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters For immediate release – March 8, 2012

Premier Alison Redford Joins Panel to Discuss Violence Against Women

Edmonton – The Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters is proud to welcome Premier Alison Redford, Sheldon Kennedy from the Respect Group, Police Chief Rick Hansen, Ian Large from Leger Marketing, Humberto Carolo from the White Ribbon Campaign and Pat Daniel, President of Enbridge as the panel speakers at the annual Breakfast with the Guys.

These distinguished guests will be discussing the results of the first ever Alberta survey of men’s attitudes towards domestic violence, with a special focus on what every man can do to prevent and eliminate violence against women. 1,000 Alberta men from all over the province were surveyed, and the results will be released at the Breakfast.

MEDIA AVAILABILITY:

Monday, March 12

7am – 8am

Westin Hotel, Calgary

Media are invited to attend the breakfast and to film the presentation, and then obtain interviews with Jan Reimer, Provincial Coordinator of ACWS along with members of the panel who make themselves available for interviews after the event concludes.

Members of the Panel:

Premier Alison Redford

Alison Redford was elected leader of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party on October 1, 2011 and sworn‐in as Alberta’s 14th premier on October 7, 2011. As Premier, Alison Redford seeks to improve quality of life for all Albertans, while working to build a province that is prosperous, fair and inclusive.

Pat Daniel

Pat Daniel has been President and Chief Executive Officer at Enbridge Inc. since January 1, 2001. Pat has been a Senior Executive Officer of Enbridge Inc. or its predecessor since 1994. Pat and Enbridge have provided ongoing support to Calgary’s Breakfast with the Guys.

Police Chief Rick Hanson

Rick Hanson is a Calgary native who joined the Calgary Police Service in February 1975 and was appointed Chief of Police for the Calgary Police Service in 2007. The Calgary Police Service, in concert with other agencies and the citizens of Calgary, is instrumental in preserving the quality of life by maintaining Calgary as a secure place in which to live.

Humberto Carolo

Humerto Carolo is the Director of Programs at the White Ribbon Campaign. He works collaboratively with local and international partner organizations to develop educational strategies to engage men and boys in promoting gender equality and ending violence against women.

The white ribbon campaign was started by a group of Toronto men in 1991 and is now in over 60 countries.

It is the largest effort of men working to end violence against women around the world. In Canada the focus is on engaging men and boys on the issue of gender equality, respect and healthy relationships.

Wearing a white ribbon symbolizes a pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women. For more information about the white ribbon campaign visit www.whiteribbon.com

Sheldon Kennedy

Sheldon Kennedy skated for three teams in his eight‐year NHL career (Detroit Red Wings, Calgary Flames and Boston Bruins) and played for Canada’s gold‐medal winning team in the 1988 World Junior Hockey Championship. He is best known for his courageous decision to charge his Major Junior Hockey league coach with sexual assault for the abuse he suffered over a five year period while a teenager under his care.

Having transformed his own personal situation into positive action, Sheldon continues to carry his message through Respect Group Inc., the company he co‐founded. Respect Group Inc (RGI) provides empowering on‐line education for youth serving organizations, schools and the workplace.

Backgrounder:

Breakfast with the Guys began in 2005 as an opportunity to bring together male leaders and educate them about the issue of domestic violence. Over the years the breakfast has featured a compelling list of keynote speakers who have helped deliver the message that men play an integral role in helping to raise awareness of domestic violence.

Money raised from the Breakfast goes directly to the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters to further their work in ending domestic violence. The mission of the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters is to provide support to their 43 member sheltering agencies throughout the province. ACWS works collaboratively to:

 improve public policy and systems for the benefit of abused women and their children;

 increase public awareness of issues related to family violence;

 and foster professional development within Alberta’s sheltering movement.

For more information about the ACWS, visit www.acws.ca.

- 30‐

For more information: Christie Lavan Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters Phone: 780-456-7000

News Release Link: http://www.acws.ca/documents/March8mediaadvisoryBreakfastCalgary.pdf

Sheldon Kennedy, former National Hockey League player and author of “Why I Didn’t Say Anything”, with Steve Sullivan at the official launch ceremony of National Victims of Crime Awareness Week.

In the Jane and Janet Doe story they have revealed thousands. In relation to this article and the response received from “Respect Group Inc.”; Sheldon Kennedy the veils are lifted and the information speaks for itself.

At the end of the day, there is a choice. The public can continue supporting these people or take a stand, speak out, and hold them publicly accountable for their actions and STOP placing them on pedestals to be worshipped, giving them awards for service to boost their own egos…

Calgary Child Abuse Center - promoting Sheldon Kennedy:

"Also assuming a lead role in the vision and development of the Child Advocacy Centre is Mr. Sheldon Kennedy of Respect Group Inc. – a Canadian hockey icon and role model for victims of abuse."

Link: http://www.calgarycac.ca/who.php

After reading a few of the postings about Alison Redford with a more recent one stating:

"Redford said one of the statistics that stood out for her was the fact that 21 per cent of men surveyed said slapping a child’s face is acceptable behaviour.

"I think that is very troubling, and as a mother of a nine-year-old, I want us to do better as a community," she said. "We have to start saying to people that this behaviour is inappropriate … It’s not acceptable in Alberta in 2012."

Redford urged the “silent majority” of Albertans to hold their neighbours, family, and friends to a higher standard.”

Read it on Global News: http://www.globalnews.ca/pages/story.aspx?id=6442599667

How can Ms. Redford urge anyone to “high standards” when hers are in the “pigs trough”, “bottom of the barrel?” Jane and Janet Does’ case is one of many prime examples. J& J Doe had to enter a secure identity program because the system failed them. Then, the Government of Alberta negligently and intentionally breached their old and new identities publicly. It is now 3 years for the Does and what has Alison Redford done to remedy the situation - the facts presented by the Does, Mr. Empett, and myself puts it into the true perspective; reality.

Who was the first recipient to receive monies from the proceeds of crime fund? It was Alison Redford giving them to Jan Reimer of ACWS; an indirect tie who does a lot of work with ACWS is the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter link: http://proactiveadvocate.tumblr.com/post/31282823693

Jane & Janet Doe also sought the ACWS’s help and support. Please refer to the factual information presented by Mr. Nigel Empett also contained in this blog; link http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/jan-reimer?before=1347305392.

Also, advocacy support was sought from CWES. At one point Lisa Falkowsky from CWES told Jane "you need to stop bullying the Government." Jane’s response was, "since when is presenting the facts and the truth, bullying?"

Where is the CWES and all the others speaking out publicly about the treatment of Jane and Janet Doe (AD HOC / NIVA recipients? And other victims too!)

They operate like the "Rat Pack." To these organizations and people it’s business as usual they only want your money; the limelight, public service awards, honorary doctorates… - “Screw the victims they profess to protect!”

Shelters Exposed!! This is the reality…

SHELTER ABUSE AND FRAUD IS A GLOBAL ISSUE. ARE SHELTERS REALLY A SAFE PLACE OR DO VICTIMS AND THEIR FAMILIES PUT THEIR LIVES IN MORE DANGER?


Stay at SafeSpace shelter in Stuart, Florida, proves fatal for pregnant woman

Marilyn Hooks, 25, and Milaus Almore, 8 weeks pregnant, were residents in the SafeSpace shelter in Stuart, Florida. On October 31, 2007, the women fell into an argument. Hooks pulled out a knife and fatally stabbed Almore. Ms. Hooks was later charged with second-degree murder.

Before the incident, Hooks had made death threats to a staff member and resident, but the shelter manager ignored staff recommendations to evict the woman.

Only afterwards was the manager terminated from her position.


Minnesota shelter for battered women director pleads guilty to embezzlement

In 2006, Paulette Wang, former treasurer of Asian Women United in Minnesota, pled guilty to embezzling $265,000 from her domestic violence organization.


Michigan SafeHouse director falsifies federal financial reports

In June 2006, SafeHouse of Michigan was ordered to repay $483,000 in federal funds because services it had billed for could not be verified. The order followed the resignation of executive director Susan McGee, who admitted that she had falsified federal financial reports to cover up delinquent tax payments.


Oklahoma domestic violence coalition directors charged with theft of federal funds

Cindy Lou Shores, Wenona Barnett, and Angela Camp of Ponca City, Oklahoma, have been charged with conspiracy and theft of federal funds. They face possible sentences of 15 years in prison after the Department of Justice reported to Congress in 2007:

"In September 2002, the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) awarded a $299,815 grant to the South Central Region Tribal Nations and Friends Domestic Violence Coalition to assist in its efforts to support victims of domestic violence. However, our investigation determined that the executive director of the Coalition stole over $100,000 in grant funds, and two board members of the Coalition stole approximately $25,000 and $37,000, respectively. Judicial proceedings continue."


Black woman finds little succor in shelter

August 14, 2007 — I read the comments on this web site and I was shocked to find that I had the same experiences that were so traumatic.

Everything was allowed to come into the shelter and it added to the traumatic experiences that I already came in there with, stalking, harassment, false imprisonment, a true domestic violence victim.

The staff was inexperienced and vicious and I was targeted because I was black and did not fit the “norm” for what entered the shelter. I did not realize that they allowed drug users, unfit mothers, and anything that they could in. I had gone to this shelter four years prior for assistance and was turned away. I came back because the abuse continued for four years.

The mental health system was the weapon of choice for my abuser and my life has been destroyed. I am fighting to get it back and thought this would be a place of refuge to get help and solace. It was the farthest thing from that. Unfit mothers, mothers that had lost their children, drug users that were using drugs on the premises, homeless women, everything.

I was targeted and victimized in the shelter to the point that I could not take it. I was moved seven times in a three week period. Racism was prevalent and accepted. I was accused of things that I did not do, my issues were not addressed at all. They were not equipped to help me and I was accused by one of the staff members of still caring about my ex husband who chose, after fifteen years of divorce, to reappear and destroy my life.

Nothing was confidential and what I discussed with staff was being discussed with clients. It was horrible and so traumatizing. After five years of severe abuse, I finally think that I am going to a place for safety and it just added to the stress that I came there with.

My belongings were gone through and my intelligence was insulted when they approached me with issues that I never divulged to them but was in documents that I brought with me to the shelter.

On the last day that I was there, one of the unfit mothers went to a staff member and told her that I had popped a bag of popcorn and would not give her child any. I could not believe that I was approached, but I was. There were ten bags in a box and I was asked if the popcorn that I popped was my personal popcorn, as if I was required to give someone’s child something that I prepared for myself while their mother was sitting there doing nothing. It was overwhelming that I was even approached.

The system has failed the women that are really being abused.


What happened when a woman went to a Phoenix, Arizona shelter

I work here in the Phoenix area through a program that has placed several women in local shelters — reluctantly! I have one woman in particular recently, that was in a shelter program, with her son. She met once with her “caseworker” at the initial intake. After being in the program for a month, was told she did not meet the “requirements” and was given a deadline to leave. No one helped her exit out, or helped with transitional housing. No assistance was offered. She appealed, twice. No one spoke with her, just let her know that the decision was final. I tried speaking/making an appointment with the Director, only to be called by his secretary to inform me that “their policy was not to take interviews.” End of story — how sad is that?


Family Life Center in Bunnell, Florida, falsifies statistics and director is violent towards ex-husband

After a six-hour hearing William Christen was awarded a permanent restraining order against the executive director of Family Life Center. He reports they were married for three years and it was a “volatile” marriage from the start. In June, 2006, they were in an argument and she threw something at him in front of a witness. She left and he filed a police report. After she made the usual false allegations William was granted the restraining order and, eventually, a divorce that has led to financial disaster for him.

It is reported that the Family Life Center uses homeless women to boost their statistics as to the number of “battered” women they help. On their telephone log any call, no matter what the purpose, is logged as a “victim” call. Grant money and shelter credit cards have apparently been used for personal use.


Four charged with defrauding Parker, Arizona, domestic violence shelter of $100,000Top
>© 2009 by Deborah Stocks, ABC15.com

July 24, 2009 — The Arizona Attorney General’s Office said Friday that four people accused of defrauding a northern Arizona crisis shelter have been arrested, three of them in North Carolina.

The suspects allegedly defrauded the Colorado River Regional Crisis Shelter in Parker of nearly $100,000.

Suzanne Foss, 48, Terry Foss, 49, Kristopher Foss, 27, and Alicia Torres, 25, are accused of theft, fraudulent schemes and artifices, conspiracy and conducting an illegal enterprise. All four defendants are from Parker.

The alleged fraud took place between 2004 and 2007,when Suzanne Foss, and later Alicia Torres, served as Executive Director for the Crisis Shelter.

Terry and Kristopher Foss, Suzanne Foss’s husband and son, were also employed at the shelter during this period. They are believed to have also been involved in the defrauding of the shelter but to a lesser degree, Goddard said.

The indictment claims that Suzanne Foss defrauded the Crisis Shelter out of nearly $100,000 by:

• Receiving overtime and vacation time she wasn’t entitled to receive.

• Receiving reimbursements for medical insurance coverage that was already provided by shelter.

• Receiving payments from federal grant funds for shelter-related services not rendered.

• Receiving reimbursement for items that were either never purchased or were taken for personal use.

• Paying other involved people for services not performed.

• Taking items donated to shelter for personal use and allowing other employees to do the same.

Suzanne and Terry Foss are also accused of fraudulently collecting unemployment compensation benefits by claiming to have been laid off from the Crisis Shelter when in fact they had both resigned, according to the Attorney General.

Goddard said the Colorado River Regional Crisis Shelter is the only domestic violence shelter serving La Paz County.

The Fosses were arrested Wednesday.

(Source: ejfi.org)

Former shelter director reveals why she left “Shelter Movement”

Originally published by RADAR

Abuse shelters surround themselves in a shroud of secrecy. On March 10, 2007 RADAR staff interviewed a former abuse shelter director to learn what goes on behind closed doors. The woman requested anonymity because she was fearful of the consequences of disclosing her identity:

I worked at an abuse shelter located in the mid-Atlantic area for over 10 years. I first worked as a counselor and was eventually promoted to the position of shelter director. Our shelter had 8 rooms, with a capacity of up to 30 women and children.

Our shelter received funding from a variety of private and government sources at the federal, state, and local levels. A large share of our budget came from the state Child and Protective Services program to pay for abused children and mothers who resided at our facility.

Our shelter provided a broad range of services, including shelter residency for up to 2 months, 3 meals a day, counseling, advocacy, and transportation to arrange for local services. When necessary, we connected our residents with nearby welfare, immigration, and pro bono legal services. And we provided transitional services for former residents. Counseling was based on Lenore Walker’s battered woman syndrome and the Duluth model’s power and control wheel.

The shelter did not provide services to male victims of domestic violence, even when the men had suffered physical abuse similar to what women had experienced. Instead the men were referred to a local police station to request a restraining order.

Our staff consisted of about 30 persons, who did administration, counseling, transportation, child care, and other activities. We had a similar number of volunteers, who were generally women with previous histories of abuse. The volunteers were sometimes more of a problem than they were worth because they were still dealing with their own personal issues. Even though the volunteers were not paid anything, the shelter received funding for their services.

Most persons think of women in an abuse shelter as victims of severe physical abuse, bloodied and broken. In our shelter, however, only about one in 10 women had experienced any kind of physical injury. A similarly small number had been threatened with any physical harm, although they may have been involved in a previous incident of physical abuse.

So the great majority of women were there because they claimed to have been subjected to verbal or psychological abuse. We did not verify the claims of new residents — if the woman answered the questions correctly, we basically believed what she said. There is no question that some women, many of whom were on welfare, were gaming the system to benefit from the many services our shelter provided.

When I first started working at the shelter, the staff was held accountable to professional standards and services were regularly audited. We shared a feeling of altruism, of helping needy victims. But over the years, I saw a big change.

The shelter became more ideologically oriented. We began to sponsor workshops and training on lesbian issues. Shelter residents who were pregnant were advised of the difficulties of raising a child alone, and were encouraged to get an abortion. In order to service illegal immigrants, we stopped requesting any form of personal identification. But then you began to wonder who you are really dealing with.

Around the same time, the number of staff increased and employee benefits expanded. I once calculated that the average staff member was away from work 60 days out of the year — 5 weeks on vacation, plus holidays and sick days. After a while it became impossible to have a cohesive staff.

In the end, we would refer the women to other programs, and they would refer clients to us. It became a self-serving numbers game.

The staff became less accountable in their work and began to see their job more as an entitlement. The shelter lost its grass roots appeal and began to feel like an employment center. There was little professionalism or accountability.

That’s when I resigned my position as shelter director.


END NOTE: From the insider’s perspective, Jane and Janet Doe, Cora and Molly and others seek to educate the public at large to the “insider truths” of what they have learned, and know to be the truth through their personal first-hand experiences with shelters and shelter workers etc.

(Source: ejfi.org)

Women’s shelters under veil of secrecy; Dave Brown, Ottawa Citizen

Women’s shelters under veil of secrecy

Dave Brown The Ottawa Citizen

1998

There’s a trigger in us all when the subject of women’s shelters comes up. It makes men uneasy and women defensive. That there’s a need for them is abhorrent to all.

Those triggers also protect shelters from normal scrutiny. Ottawa’s new domestic court is taking men out of their homes at the rate of 120 a month. The zero-tolerance approach to domestic violence includes, for most men, a restraining order meaning they can’t go home, or near their homes, until calm is restored.

One would think that this would be taking some of the pressure off shelters. But the shelter movement continues to plead for more money to protect more women from more abusers who are becoming more violent. These claims can be made with impunity, because of the secrecy that surrounds shelters.

As a reporter and a skeptic, this offends my check-it-out impulse because I can’t go near them. Even the suggestion of checking one out, or challenging the claims they make, pulls triggers. Particularly in women.

To most women, there are some things that have to be taken on faith, and one of them is that the number of men becoming violent against women is increasing. The facts prove it, and the facts are coming from shelters. Challenge them, and you can hear the trigger click. I heard the click in June when Senator Anne Cools challenged a shelter lobbyist appearing before the Special Joint Senate-Commons Committee on Child Custody and Access. Immediately, a female member of the committee jumped to the shelter worker’s defence and tempers flared. Ms. Cools left the room. Ms. Cools, a founder of the shelter movement, is now an outspoken opponent of it.

To get the inside story, I had to find a volunteer. The one I found is a prominent Ottawa businessperson who doesn’t want to be identified. We didn’t tie up a bed. The idea was to check out the service being provided and get a look at the inside of a shelter.

She made her first call on a recent Tuesday at 8:30 p.m., to Nelson House. My agent was told, sorry, all shelter beds in the Ottawa area were filled. I listened as she pleaded. She said she didn’t want to go home. She hadn’t been abused, she was just afraid. She put on an impressive display of somebody in need of help. She was told to call back in an hour.

Her report to me after the call: “Not a very warm response. She didn’t seem to care. She didn’t ask questions. She just kept telling me I was out of luck. She seemed to want me to go away.” In the next call, she was told to go to Interval House. She found the reception there cool. She asked for a tour of the house, saying it would make her more comfortable. The answer was no. She asked to use a bathroom, and in that way got a look at some of the ground floor. She described the building as huge. Including the woman on duty in the office, she saw five women. She didn’t see or hear children. It was 9:45 p.m. The house was quiet.

"I felt unwelcome. I was told I could stay overnight and arrangements would be made in the morning to get me a lawyer and a place to stay. I had been told women could stay up to 10 weeks, and when I asked why I had to move out so quickly, there was no answer. I was asked to sign an agreement saying I would never divulge the address, and I left. All of the women I saw were members of visible minorities."

I asked my agent why she had agreed to help me. She said it was her business sense. Things don’t add up, and she feels that she, as a taxpayer and an honest person, should help uncover abuses of systems. Also, she has a brother who can’t see his children because his wife went through the shelter system, and he was branded as abusive without a hearing. My reporter instincts tell me the explosion in male violence is a myth perpetrated by shelters. They need it to be believed to increase their funding. Our lawmakers have believed them, and things like the new domestic court are one result. Women who report abuse can no longer recant — at least not without difficulty and time. Domestic squabbles are being mixed in with abuse, and the easiest, fastest and least expensive way for a couple to get back together is for the man to plead guilty. The violent-male statistics are exploding.

One of the driving forces behind the formation of the new court was Carroll Holland, liaison co-ordinator for the Gay, Lesbian, Transsexual and Trans Gender Support Group of Ottawa-Carleton. When she heard I was nosing around domestic court she delivered a large package of male-bashing material, with a warning note.

"The Citizen has been very negligent in its lack of coverage of this topic É It would be irresponsible to address this topic now in anything less than a comprehensive fashion."

Among her list of accomplishments, Ms. Holland is a special adviser to the police hate-crimes unit. If similar unsolicited material had been sent to a minority group, including hers, Ms. Holland would have told the posse to saddle up.

Earlier this month I attended a meeting in the office of Crown Attorney Andrejs Berzins to outline some of the growing number of complaints reaching my desk, mainly from women who believe the new system is harmful. Being unable to speak to their partners meant they were unable to resolve disputes. There were six Partner Assault Support Team (PAST) members in Mr. Berzins’ office. Among many items discussed was my agent’s shelter experience.

Police officers who answered domestic calls used to act as mediators and calming agents. Now most say their hands are tied and their safest move in the zero-tolerance atmosphere is to take the man in. Marriages are being torn apart.

The day after my meeting with the PAST group, I called Lyallen Hayes, spokeswoman for Interval House, and told her the woman who dropped in Tuesday night was my agent. “I know,” she said. “I was told yesterday.”

She said Interval House currently houses 22 people, nine women and 13 children. Most are long term. “They can stay 10 weeks, or longer if there are problems.” She repeated that shelters are unable to keep up with the increasing flow of victims.

No wonder, said my agent. Ten weeks isn’t sheltering. That’s storage. Shelters are publicly funded. I asked Ms. Hayes if there were ever any spot audits. Did bureaucratic bean-counters ever drop around to check out who, how many, why, and for how long?

She said that was information I would have to get from the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services. I read that as a no. She also warned that my agent had signed an agreement of confidentiality. “That includes not speaking about anything that goes on in here.” If found, she warned, my agent could be in trouble.

If I’d been thinking faster, I would have asked for some blank copies of that confidentiality agreement. Mr. Berzins could use some in his office.

Copyright 1998 Ottawa Citizen

Dave Brown “Truth Seeker” vs. Social Worker “In Denial”

Please ensure to read the “End Note” in this posting!

Thursday 7 January 1999,

Women do not feel protected from abuse
Sandy Milne
in David Brown’s column space
The Ottawa Citizen

Dave Brown in his Brown’s Beat columns from Dec. 15-19 has done a great disservice to the community by using his journalistic privilege to print his latest analysis of the issue of violence against women by slamming shelters, police, courts, child-protection agencies and social workers.

The issue of violence against women is complex. Many of the professionals who work with families where there is violence have years of training, education and work experience. From reading the series of articles, I found it glaringly apparent that Mr. Brown has invented his own theories on the issue that appear to be based on anecdotal type situations rather than on years of experience of working in the field.

In my years of experience, as with many of my colleagues at other agencies and shelters, the stories I hear sound nothing like the ones Mr. Brown has brought to light.

The stories I hear are of women who do not feel that police, child protection agencies and courts have protected them or their children from their violent ex-partners, despite restraining orders and other court orders.

I find Mr. Brown’s take on the issue, quite frankly, dangerous to the women and children in this community.

What will happen now if neighbours hear screaming coming from the next-door apartment or the home across the street? Will they be reluctant to call the police? Many women are being hit by violent partners — women are not throwing “hissy fits” as Mr. Brown would have the readers believe.

I work with women who have been permanently disabled by their male partners, which has resulted in living with lifelong chronic pain, not to mention that they will never be gainfully employed again. A call from a neighbour could be critical in intervening in a situation where there is violence. It sometimes takes women years to get the courage to make that first call to the police or to disclose an assault to hospital emergency staff.

The concerted efforts in this community to provide a co-ordinated service to abused women and children are not acknowledged by Mr. Brown.

I would suggest that Mr. Brown is clearly out of his element when it comes to writing about violence against women, custody and access issues and the systems that deal with these families.

Rather than Mr. Brown railing on about making social workers accountable, he would do well to focus on the ethics of journalism. Did the Citizen sanction the use of a “plant” in a women’s shelter?

Perhaps, you may consider doing a series on violence against women written by those knowledgeable about the issue. The series could include resources that are available to those families where violence is occurring. This would be seen as more responsible journalism than this latest effort by Mr. Brown.

Sandy Milne, MSW
Woman Abuse Counsellor,
Family Service Centre of Ottawa-Carleton

END NOTE: It is very interesting that Ms. Milne is trashing Dave Brown’s “revelation of printing the facts presented directly by victims’ first-hand experiences; going through the system.” Ms. Milne’s statements is from a worker who gets paid from the system; keeping the status quo helps her keep her job!”

A concluding point where Ms. Milne says: "I find Mr. Brown’s take on the issue, quite frankly, dangerous to the women and children in this community." Frankly, who is the dangerous one after reviewing the information presented throughout the “Sweet Justice Blog?” Reality strikes a cord; it’s Ms. Milne who is the dangerous one because of her title, role, and her participation in the abusive “Domestic Violence Movement.”

(Source: fact.on.ca)

Cult Of The Domestic-Violence Industry by Dave Brown Sr. Editor & Columnist “The Ottawa Citizen”

The following five remarkable articles were published between December 4th and 8th of 2001 by Dave Brown, senior editor and columnist for the Canadian newspaper, The Ottawa Citizen.

The articles are reproduced here http://www.dvmen.org/dv-24.htm with the permission of the author.

———————————————————————————-

Men challenge ‘bible’ of violence against women: A Toronto inquest will question the validity of a standard reference book

Tuesday, December 04, 2001 — The job in front of a coroner’s inquest in Toronto puts the five-member jury in a position similar to that faced by jurors in the historic 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial, which many still call the trial of the (20th) century.

The famous U.S. case challenged the Bible and the right of its believers to ban the teaching of Darwin’s theory of evolution in schools. It was modernism against fundamentalism and the winner was Darwin. His supporters were represented by Clarence Darrow, one of the most famous lawyers in the U.S.

The Toronto inquest also has a bible on trial. Among the first pieces of evidence submitted was the 1992 Final Report of the Canadian Panel on Violence Against Women.

Not quite as long as the Bible, it is the standard reference book for a growing industry that claims violence against women is a hidden epidemic seen only by selected front-line workers, many of whom have connections to women’s shelters, rape crisis centres and hundreds of other women’s organizations whose government funding relies on persuading society that domestic violence is not an isolated phenomenon, but a widespread pathology.

The inquest concerns the June 20, 2000 deaths of Gillian and Ralph Hadley. They were separated and he ignored a restraining order, drove to their home in Pickering and killed Gillian. Then he killed himself.

It is not the role of inquests to fix blame or guilt, but they can, and often do, result in new laws and social policies. Lawyers at inquests don’t carry as much weight as they do at trials, but in this one two lawyers have been granted standing by deputy coroner Bonita Porter because they represent the two extremes in the domestic-violence issue.

Geri Sanson represents the Ontario Association of Interval and Transitional Housing and believes the 1992 report, called CanPan by insiders, is biblical in its truths. Walter Fox represents Fathers Are Capable Too (FACT), which challenges almost everything in CanPan and the laws to which it has given birth. The men’s group, which includes a number of women and grandparents, says violence statistics are wildly exaggerated and when domestic violence does occur, men are just as likely to be the victims. FACT has a paid membership of 170.

Annual deaths in Canada connected to couples violence ranges from 70 to 80, with women by far the majority of victims. Male deaths are about 10 per cent.

Because he’s challenging fundamental beliefs, Mr. Fox could seem to be playing Mr. Darrow’s defense role. That puts Ms. Sanson in the position of playing the role of Scopes prosecutor William Jennings Bryan. (John Scopes was the teacher accused of breaking Tennessee law by teaching Darwinian theory.)

At stake in the inquest are the recommendations that will be issued at its close, expected in January. A similar inquest in the same courtroom in 1998 into another murder-suicide studied the 1996 killing of Arlene May by her former boyfriend, Randy Iles. That inquest came out with 213 recommendations and led eventually to the creation and passing last year of Ontario’s Domestic Violence Protection Act (Bill 117).

That law has been challenged by, among others, the criminal law section of the Canadian Bar Association, which argues the proposed legislation intrudes on the exclusive federal jurisdiction over criminal matters.

Although the new law hasn’t yet been used, it’s part of the weaponry in the war against violence against women. Using it could transfer all of an accused’s assets to the accuser in cases of violence against women. It could be done through an ex parte hearing while the accused is in jail, meaning he wouldn’t be represented.

Men’s groups were not represented at the May/Iles inquest. The Hadley inquest marks the first time a lawyer representing the interests of a predominantly men’s group has been granted standing. If things fall together as expected, the CanPan could be given its first test of public accountability.

There are many, including Trent University professor John Fekete, who say CanPan is a work of fiction. In Moral Panic, Mr. Fekete argues the report is a series of doctored statistics and fabricated survival stories.

A newspaper editor would likely not accept any of the CanPan report because it doesn’t name sources and is packed with unattributed quotes. Yet countless newspaper stories have been written quoting people making claims, using the CanPan as reference material.

Example: “He hasn’t put one dollar in my hands even though I get family allowance and disability cheques. He takes it all. When my husband goes shopping, he buys gifts for another woman and I am the one who has to take them to her.”

Dozens of similar unattributed quotes are scattered through the report, all intended to make men look hateful, but also make women look stupid. Did somebody consider it within limits to stretch the truth to prevent anything as abhorrent as violence against women?

Another famous American involved in the Monkey Trial was columnist H.L. Mencken, who covered it. Among his profound beliefs was: “I believe that no trumpeting of falsehood, however virtuous in intent, can be anything but vicious.”

Over the next several days, this column will document some of the damage being done to men and women as a result of social policies based on CanPan. In all accounts, names will be used. These stories will be documented in such a way that they’ll be open to investigation by anyone who wants to talk to the sources. The CanPan, in contrast, is written is such a way that checking facts is impossible.

First up is Ottawa police case No. 99-180060, involving Douglas G. Rowe, an angry taxpayer.

On Oct. 24, 1999, Mr. Rowe, now 56, called police and asked them to be in his home while he removed some belongings. He wanted out of his marriage and didn’t want to risk conflict and/or accusations in a situation that could be hostile. Two officers stood by as he made his move. He spent the night with relatives.

The next morning, he was hauled out of bed, arrested and handcuffed. His wife had complained she was assaulted. He spent 18 hours in jail finding out what it felt like to be a criminal. At the time, he told the arresting officer and the investigating detective to check with the officers who came to his home the night before.

Instead, he was formally charged. Tell it to the judge. He hired lawyer William J. Carroll, who was able to have the charge withdrawn Jan. 6, 2000. Mr. Rowe never appeared in court. His legal bill was $5,350.

Adding to his feeling of victimization is that two weeks after the arrest, his wife approached him. He locked the doors of his vehicle and used his cell phone to call police. When they arrived, it was Rowe who was stretched over the hood and searched. He says the assumption of male guilt is discrimination.

That he had such costs added to his problems and that there was no attempt to have his wife called to account was, in Mr. Rowe’s opinion, not just. He filed a formal complaint (00-0065) against Ottawa police Const. Anthony Persaud, who arrested him, and Det. Lyse Fournier, who charged him. His claim was that he had been poorly served by these officers because they didn’t check with the officers from the night before.

The reply to that complaint was a drop-dead letter dated Aug. 2, 2000, written by Ottawa police lawyer Vince Westwick. The problem, Mr. Westwick said, was that the officers who attended the night of the move had not filed reports. They were “counselled” for the oversight.

The officers ended up filing reports that could have cleared Mr. Rowe, but only two days after the incident. There is no attempt in the Westwick letter to explain why it took so long for the news to travel down the hall at the police station. Mr. Westwick suggests missing details can be blamed on the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

The police lawyer says Det. Fournier had no choice but to charge “under police policy on partner assault which goes hand in hand with the Solicitor General’s Wife Assault Policy.”

These policies translate to zero tolerance and are responsible for channelling 120 men a month into Ottawa’s Domestic Violence Court. Men on this DV court ride can’t go home, even if the woman recants, until they plead guilty. Domestic squabbles are now classified as violence against women and the guilty pleas are making the statistics skyrocket.

Mr. Rowe has a circle of friends and a large extended family, all losing faith in a system and trust in police. They believe police should not follow a policy based on an overly zealous reaction to any complaint from a woman. Police take the view they are just following orders.

Such policies could become tougher if Ms. Sanson sways the Hadley jury.

——————————————————————————————

Burying the ghosts of a violent past: Husband in wheelchair became focus of wife’s rage

Wednesday, December 05, 2001 — When her anger turned to a rage she could neither understand nor control, Linda Kinsella became physically violent and had an easy target in her husband, Kevin, whom she could control by tipping over his wheelchair.

She says she’s embarrassed by her past behaviour, which locked Kevin into her private hell for four years, but can no longer stand back and watch society shape itself into a belief system in which only men abuse their partners.

"If women are able to do all the good things that men can do in professions like medicine and law and in all other fields, then why is it that we, as a society, deny that women can do the bad too? It is my fondest hope that someday there will be true equality in our society and that domestic violence will be seen not as a gender issue but as a societal one that will end when we work together to stop it."

We’re in their home in the Hunt Club area. It’s sparsely furnished to allow Kevin easy mobility. He has cerebral palsy. Linda, tall and lithe, often paces as she talks. She frequently pauses in her speech and her pacing to collect her thoughts. Almost always she does this while standing behind Kevin, and unthinkingly puts her hands over his chest under his bright red suspenders. She works the suspenders as if exercising her wrists. Sometimes, as she struggles to find the right words, he places his hands over hers.

This isn’t easy for Linda. She’s making amends. She’s telling her story to bury her ghosts, and to try to help other couples.

"I love this guy," she says, gently slapping his chest. "I think back over those four years and I wonder why he’s still here. Well, I know why. He couldn’t get away. Tipping his wheelchair was like taking a hammer to another man’s knees."

She doesn’t miss much. I was guessing at Kevin’s obvious upper body strength and wondering if she would have the power to control him. “I lost weight,” she says, as if reading my mind. “I used to weigh 200 pounds.”

She believes the current war against violence against women is distorted and dangerous.

"I remember thinking when I was in a rage that I had full control. In the back of my mind there was always the thought of the telephone. All I had to do was dial those three digits (911) and claim I was the one abused, and I would win. If it was in my mind, I’m sure it’s in others’ too."

One night I did it. I had hurt Kevin physically and he had had enough and he wanted out. When he tried to get to the door I tipped his chair. Then I made the call. It was pure anger. I’ll show you who’s in charge. While I waited I calmed down and realized what I had done. I didn’t want to lose him. I want this marriage to work. That’s why we got married the way we did.” (On Nov. 29, nine years ago, they were married before the start of a Senators’ game at centre ice with a full house roaring its approval.)

When police arrived they told Kevin he was under arrest. I told them to look at the evidence. I was the one who committed assault. They said they were sorry, but it was policy. The man goes to jail. By pointing out how difficult that was going to be for a man in a wheelchair, they decided to leave him at home. But it stuck with me. An officer told him he was under arrest because of a policy and it had nothing to do with evidence. That’s just plain wrong.”

The 1994 Ontario Solicitor General’s Policing Standards Manual spells it out on page 10, item (h).

"When there are reasonable grounds, police will lay charges in all incidents of wife assault. In determining reasonable grounds, officers should consider all relevant factors which include, but are not limited to: verbal statements from the victim, physical injuries or other physical evidence of an offence. The absence of a statement may not preclude the laying of a charge."

Problems: It doesn’t say anything about husband assault, and “reasonable grounds” is a minefield. Shouting and finger wagging are now listed as abusive behaviour.

That night of the 911 call was the turning point.

"Every time it happened, that I lost control, I swore that would be the last time. I knew it wasn’t Kevin I was angry at, but he took the brunt of it. The abuse was verbal and physical. I said terrible things, ugly things. But after that night I knew I needed outside help and I went looking for it."

She couldn’t find any. Now she had a whole belief system to be angry at.

"I went to a therapist who listened to my confession about my physical abuse of my husband, and she responded with an observation: she said he must be doing things to deserve that kind of treatment. I went looking for women’s groups that might offer some kind of self-help for anger problems. If there are any I still can’t find them."

Eventually she found help through a therapist who ignored Kevin and helped her find the source of the anger.

"Mainly things lingering from my childhood. Once I understood that, I found ways to channel and control. I found it helpful to talk about my problem, and met other women who admitted they too were using the telephone threat to win quarrels that had turned into fights.

Men have no place to turn when a situation like ours happens. We have no resources to help men in these situations. Kevin had no place to go, either to live or to get help.”

Life isn’t perfect and she still has flare-ups. Recently she lost her temper in a public place and wants witnesses to know she’s aware she was behaving badly. What they saw was a woman fighting for control of her own emotions while aiming anger at the person she loves most. “It only lasted a couple of minutes.”

Kevin has new reasons to fear those outbursts. They are no longer physical. “I guess my biggest fear now is that I don’t want to lose her, or her to lose me.”

The Kinsellas are in their mid 30’s and both on disability pensions. She has fibromyalgia. They are active members of the New Democratic Party and telephone calls to their home are greeted with the news that you have reached the Coalition for Social Action. She hopes to be a writer and he’s a fan of politics. His dream job would be working for pay for the political left.

Linda hopes to hear from women who are experiencing what she has been through. “I don’t want to start a club, but I think I can help.”

——————————————————————————————

'I learned it's a system that doesn't listen': Wife still terrified by threats from family violence specialists

Thursday, December 06, 2001 — The woman sitting across the table often breaks into tears and fits of trembling. She lives in fear. She says she has been threatened and emotionally battered by those who call themselves “front-line workers” in the war against violence against women.

Her husband is sitting at the table to my right. He says little. He too has been scarred by the intervention attempts of those who operate in the certain belief that women are weak and can’t be trusted to make their own decisions or protect themselves.

Since the violence-against-women specialists invaded their lives a year ago, husband and wife say they have developed ulcers. They have been financially battered and say they survived many attempts to break up their marriage.

Now they’re angry.

Stephanie Robertson says they had a pretty good fight going that night, Oct. 5, 2000. Neither she nor her husband, Dale Robertson, can remember exactly how it got rolling, but they agree it was probably about money. They are health-care workers. She’s a licensed practical nurse and he’s an orderly. They have a three-year-old son and their one great aim is to give him full-time parenting. They can arrange their shifts so that one of them can always be with their child.

In the middle of the fight, Dale walked away, locking himself in one end of their Sandy Hill apartment. Stephanie says: “That frightened me. He wouldn’t unlock the door, and the baby was on his side of the door. I didn’t know what to do. I called police to ask what to do. I wanted to know what were the proper steps to take. I was upset and wanted advice.”

She knew the dangers of dialling 911. That is reporting life at risk. So she called the general police number.

A short time later, Dale was on his way out the door with his hands cuffed behind his back. It was Thanksgiving weekend. He spent the next four days and nights in jail. Stephanie says what happened to her husband was an injustice, and telling her story is part of trying to address that issue. The system had kicked in the moment police heard a woman in distress complaining about a problem with a husband.

"When they were handcuffing him I told them he wouldn’t hurt anybody. He’s not like that. Nobody would listen. Over the next four months, I learned it’s a system that doesn’t listen."

From the start, she says, the advice from support workers connected to Domestic Violence Court was that she should break up her marriage. She should not risk living with a violent man. Her attempts to defend her husband were met with we-understand-and-we-know-better attitudes: she was afraid of him and was trying to protect him so he wouldn’t be angry. When it became clear she had no intention of separating from her husband, the threats from domestic violence specialists connected to the court moved to a new level that still terrifies her.

"They seemed to be threatening to take my child. They said if I wasn’t going to protect my child from his father, then the system would have to."

Meanwhile, with the loss of their household routine, costs skyrocketed. Dale continued to slip money for the rent to his wife, so he couldn’t afford to pay rent for himself. For most of those four months, his bed was a mat on the floor at a hostel.

Because there was a restraining order in place, he couldn’t go near his home or family, so couldn’t parent his son. Baby sitting and day care were needed, adding up to $400 a week to their problems.

Then the system shut him out of his job. He was served with a court order telling him to report to the Royal Ottawa Hospital for an assessment. He was working at that psychiatric facility; the court order was an instant job-killer.

"We were meeting secretly," said Stephanie. "We would meet for coffee or a drink. It was scary. We were always looking over our shoulders. We were told Dale could come home if he pleaded guilty, but we agreed that would be wrong because he wasn’t guilty of anything. We couldn’t be together at Christmas. It was awful."

Gradually, Dale lost his determination to hold out for justice. Always dangling was the offer that if he would plead guilty he could get out of the packed, smelly hostel room and go home. Eventually, he was persuaded to sign a peace bond, and allowed to go home.

He knows now that his signature on the bond is tantamount to a guilty plea. He has gone into the records as another violent male. These records now show another woman rescued. What they don’t show is a young family scrambling to financially recover from outside interference. Aside from the job loss and baby sitting costs, there was a $2,000-legal bill.

Stephanie says she needs to vent. That’s why she decided to tell her story. She also wants to warn other women about the consequences of reaching for the telephone while under stress.

She expected others to accept that she was smart enough to get out of the house and run for help if there was potential for harm.

That a woman would make a phone call and then wait for police means she’s not at great risk and knows it.

Help, says Stephanie, would be a volunteer babysitter. Help would be a little financial support. Help would be somebody dropping in for tea and helping with the baby while mother catches up on the housework. Help would be getting husband and wife back together again as soon as possible. There’s none of this kind of help in the domestic violence system.

"You know what was the worst part? It was when Dale did come back, he wouldn’t fight. No matter what I said or did he just said ‘Yes dear.’ It was like living in a glass house with eggshell floors. We were tip-toeing around each other. That’s not normal. Not for us. When I have an issue, I want the air cleared."

There was a pause as they made sappy grins at each other, remembering something. The question had to be asked. How did they get rid of the eggshells?

Dale looked at his wife, grinned, and said: “Bitch. Get me a beer!” She leapt up and reached for him. Before he could get off his chair she was on him, laughing and hugging. He also started to laugh. When they had composed themselves, he explained: “We’re kinda nuts.” It was 11 a.m. He didn’t really want a beer. Their relationship includes a playfulness the violence-against-women camp wouldn’t understand.

In September this year, things were back to normal in their home, and that meant an argument. It was a hot evening and their balcony door was open. They were being noisy and the sound was angry.

There was a knock at the door. In a flash, Dale was in handcuffs again. For reasons not explained, police took the cuffs off and told them to quiet down.

Stephanie thinks the display of discretion on the part of police was due to her impression of a woman who just couldn’t take any more. It was real.

"We’re being watched. You’d have ulcers, too."

——————————————————————————————

Turning domestic violence into a religion: Inquest an epic social debate

Friday, December 07, 2001 — It could be one of the most important inquests of our age. At the coroner’s office on Toronto’s Grosvenor Street, a jury is being asked to decide the causes of the deaths of Ralph and Gillian Hadley and to make recommendations that will prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future.

It’s a tall order.

Ralph and Gillian Hadley were married. She was his childhood crush, but she married — and then was divorced from — another man. Gillian had two children by her first husband and then another with Ralph. Last year, Ralph shot Gillian, then killed himself.

The first witness at the opening of the inquest on Oct. 23 was psychologist Peter Jaffe, of London, Ontario, who told the five jurors the presentation they were about to see was not made for them.

Mr. Jaffe’s presentation was originally prepared to educate judges about violence against women, and he said he had just completed an extensive tour of the United States, giving his demonstration in many major centres. Mr. Jaffe’s position, expressed in a slick slide show, is that domestic violence is more widespread than we know. He calls it “the best kept secret in Canada.”

If this is true, then I wonder whether we are in the midst of a serious problem. But I also wonder whether domestic violence — or “DV” to the growing army of people who make their living out of fighting this blight — hasn’t been turned into a religion.

To question Mr. Jaffe would be like interrupting a Billy Graham crusade by asking the evangelist to prove the contents of the Bible. Violence against women, as a concept, has taken on that kind of belief structure. You either believe Mr. Jaffe’s social science conclusions or you risk being a heretic.

What is not in dispute is that on June 20, 2000, Ralph Hadley ignored a restraining order and went to their Pickering home where he murdered Gillian with a handgun, then used the gun to kill himself.

Was this act deviant? Or does it reinforce the belief that domestic violence is a male-perpetrated pathology?

I don’t know the answer to these questions, but I’d like to think the best way to approach them is with an open mind.

At the Hadley inquest, and for the first time at any comparable judicial or quasi-judicial proceeding, a men’s group has been granted standing. Dr. Bonita Porter, who is presiding over the inquest, made the landmark decision that a men’s group just might have something to contribute.

Representing this group, called FACT (Fathers Are Capable Too) is a lawyer named Walter Fox. He hopes to show that the Hadley tragedy is not as simple as it may appear.

Does the system discriminate against men? Did the system provoke Ralph Hadley rather than help him to find a way out of his rage? Those are among the questions that Mr. Fox wants to examine.

The inquest is expected to run into the New Year, as deputy coroner Porter intends to put every detail in the lead-up to the disaster under a microscope.

The violence-against-women camp hopes the Hadley jury will make recommendations that will result in tougher legislation and more resources to protect women. The side that sees domestic violence as a human problem and not a gender issue hopes this could be the case that shows men, too, can have a breaking point.

Courts have accepted the battered wife syndrome as a defense for killing a husband. Did Gillian Hadley contribute to her own death by pushing Ralph too far? Did authorities miss the signs that Ralph was slipping over a line?

In their high school years, they were neighbours living across the street from each other. Their parents were friends. Blond and beautiful Gillian was popular and Ralph had a mile-wide crush on her. But Ralph was a bit dorky in her view and they never dated. She married young and the marriage failed, leaving her with two children, one a badly damaged three-year-old, paralysed, deaf and blind.

Finding a man willing to commit to those responsibilities would not be easy. She phoned Ralph and his dreams came true. They married in 1997.

Three years later, Ralph was back living with his parents. He and Gillian now had a son, but Ralph was under investigation by the Children’s Aid Society for unexplained bruises found on Gillian’s paralysed child. In eight months, CAS had not cleared the case, and while under investigation, Ralph couldn’t be alone with his own son. The infant lived with Gillian in the Pickering home Ralph bought, but couldn’t really afford.

Ralph was stuck in a dead-end job in a postal terminal and could see little hope. If Gillian bailed from the marriage, his court-ordered support payments would leave him barely enough for his own survival. There would be no hope of establishing a new life.

While he was adjusting to these realities, Gillian’s sister visited him at his Toronto job and urged him to accompany her to Pickering. She took him to a home he was unfamiliar with. It was 10 a.m. and the front door was unlocked. Ralph followed noise to the master bedroom and walked in on his wife having sex with another man.

Ralph struck his wife. That resulted in a phone call to police, a night in jail, and a restraining order that banned him from crossing the city limits into Pickering. Friends and relatives have testified that Ralph went from being agitated to, all of a sudden, seeming surprisingly calm. What they didn’t know was that he had made up his mind to end the ordeal.

There is no doubt that Ralph Hadley was over the edge. In the satchel he took with him on the morning of the murder-suicide, he had a knife, duct tape, lighter fluid, tools, surgical gloves, 13 pairs of women’s underwear, a pornographic magazine and a dog collar. Attached to the collar was a wedding band engraved with the couple’s wedding date. There was also a tape recording of his thoughts, which the inquest jury has now heard. His calm voice kept the courtroom in thrall. There was also the long letter he hoped would explain his actions.

In essence, Ralph wanted his son to someday believe his father had no choice but to kill his mother; that father was protecting son from an evil woman.

Ralph Hadley slipped into the house while Gillian was showering. She escaped naked, clutching the baby. Neighbours and passersby intervened and got the baby, but were forced to back away from Ralph’s gun. He dragged her into the house and fired two shots.

Mr. Jaffe’s four-hour lecture to the jury didn’t offer psychological insights into the disaster. He treated the incident as proof of violence against women. He’s a director of the London Family Court Clinic and told the jury he “trains” police, clergy, doctors, teachers and judges in matters of violence against women. His charts claimed 21 per cent of women in first world countries are physically assaulted and the figure for Canada is 29 per cent. A threat is considered an assault, and goes into his records as violence

The average woman is assaulted 35 times before she seeks help, says Mr. Jaffe. He backed up some of his claims by referring to his own published works. He has written eight books on the subject. Lawyer Walter Fox pointed out that reliable social-science conclusions have first to pass a peer-review process. Mr. Jaffe admitted much of his work has not been through that process.

Mr. Jaffe offered to the jury suggestions to prevent another death like Gillian Hadley’s. What’s needed, he said, are more “resources in place.” The resources he advocates need more government funding. Society needs to counsel children who witness violence or they’ll become bullies. Women who are victims of violence need more counselling services. Everybody seems to need more counselling.

A counterpoint to Mr. Jaffe’s call for vastly expanded counselling/psychology services is a book written by psychologist Tana Dineen, of Vancouver. The title of Ms. Dineen’s book is Manufacturing Victims: What the Psychology Industry is Doing to People.

Her book has been through three printings, and in the latest she quotes Sam Keen, former editor of Psychology Today, as saying it was time somebody took “a hard look at the sins of the profession.” Her work is also supported by historian Ted Roszak, who is credited with inventing the term “counterculture.” He called her book “an antidote for our society’s spreading addiction to toxic therapy.”

This is more than an inquest. It’s an important debate not expected to draw conclusions until sometime early in the new year. What it is trying to resolve is: Is domestic violence an epidemic, or an isolated deviant behaviour?

—————————————————————————————-

Cult of the domestic-violence industry: Where are the great numbers of victims we hear about?

Saturday, December 08, 2001 — There’s a large poster in the guidance office at our neighborhood high school, Earl of March. “Call us if your boyfriend breaks your heart. Call us if your boyfriend breaks your jaw.” There’s an 800 number for the Kids Help Phone.

I have problems with that sign. It’s not just making a suggestion, it’s making a statement. Girlfriends get their jaws broken by their boyfriends. Everybody knows women are the victims of male violence and here’s another example.

The problem with the broken jaw suggestion is it’s a lie.

Bill Clarke is the guidance counsellor at Earl of March High School. The poster is about three paces from his office door. Those who claim violence against women is the best-kept secret in Canada say they get their information from “front-line workers.”

Mr. Clarke is a front-line worker, but until now nobody has asked him what he’s seeing and hearing. The question: In his 21 years at the Earl, a school with an annual enrolment of 1,200, how many cases does he know of in which a girl had her jaw broken by a boyfriend? Zero.

Then why the poster? “I’ve been waiting for reaction to it. I’ll take it down if somebody asks.”

I asked. He says he hears of an occasional assault between dating couples and there seems to be a gender balance among hitters. “Girls have become more aggressive.”

I called the 800 number, pushed one for English, and waited six minutes and through three promises that “a counsellor will be with you shortly” before hanging up. It was 10:30 a.m. Nov. 22. A girl with a broken jaw should not have to wait that long.

A hard question in this war against violence against women is: Where are the front lines? How does responsible journalism sort facts from propaganda? The reporter’s litmus test in this kind of work is to insist: Don’t tell me. Show me. (Show the phone bill for that 800 line so the public can judge if it should be expanded or shut down.)

An offer to show appeared in an Oct. 12 letter to the editor from Dr. Atul Kapur. Reacting to a column in which I challenged violence orthodoxy, he showed he was a determined protector of women. In his view, I was showing “hate-filled, bilious, vile rhetoric… hyperbole, extremism and near-total ignorance… vitriolic denial” by expressing doubt.

"I will limit my response to inviting him to spend a couple of shifts with me in the emergency department of a hospital to see first-hand some of the effects of domestic violence."

His letter reminded me that, in matters of violence, hospital emergency departments are staffed by front-line workers. I put some questions to Judy Brown, media relations chief at the Ottawa Hospital.

The hospital is one of several serving a populace of about 1.4 million people. How many persons were admitted last year to the Civic campus (the only one that currently keeps such statistics) with injuries from domestic assault?

None. Not one.

In the same time, how many people were treated in the Civic’s emergency department for injuries involving domestic assault? “Twenty nine.” The number wasn’t broken down by gender, but studies outside of the violence-against-women camp put the number of men injured in domestic disputes at one-third of the total.

In a call to Dr. Kapur, I pointed out that with numbers like this, my calculator was telling me if I wanted to see domestic violence victims in his emergency room, my odds would be almost as good standing at Bank and Sparks streets waiting to see somebody hit by lightning. He said I had the wrong statistics and offered to provide his own. I pointed out I would accept only statistics approved by the hospital.

If it were possible to spend a couple of shifts with him, what were the odds of seeing domestic bloodshed? “You would see injured women I would have concerns about, but who might not admit the cause of injuries.”

Dr. Kapur left me with the impression he was a good man with a deep concern, but with a mindset that could make every injury suspect. If he was called on to treat a truly battered and broken woman who denied her partner did it, but he was certain that was the case, would he call police? “No. That would be paternalistic.”

I went looking for other hospital emergency workers who would be willing to go on record with their experiences in the domestic-violence field, and found registered nurse Sue Chenard. She spent 12 years in emergency at the Riverside Hospital. “I can think of a couple of cases I was suspicious about. Two at the most. The men hovered. I could only get the women alone and ask if they needed help, but in both cases they denied they were assaulted.”

Secret places are anathema to a free and open society, and dangerous. The statistics that tell us women are being violently abused in great numbers in secret are coming from places that are closed to public overview, such as shelters, crisis centres and hotlines. My job is overview. I’m left asking questions.

How is it that where the “front-line workers” are open to approach there’s not a whiff of the great numbers emanating from shelters? How is it that, with the lines of communication I have developed into the community after 35 years of writing a city column, not one of them signals a secret epidemic of violence?

The media has to accept much of the responsibility for turning unsubstantiated statistics into facts but, like everybody else, we’re caught in confusing battle lines. How can high-profile corporations say no to buying a table at a fund-raiser when the promotion says it’s to protect women from violence? Newspapers, including the Citizen, buy tables at these events, giving them legitimacy through financial support and the corporate name on the table.

Often, awards will be handed out to persons deemed to have contributed much to the war against violence against women. The award winners appear in news stories. The litmus test hasn’t been applied. What did they do to win such honour? Don’t tell us. Show us. Those honours when they appear in the news are the same as the poster in the high school. They say: Everybody knows women are being violated; there’s no need to explain.

There is in every one of us a trigger that fires when we think there’s even a remote chance a woman is being battered by a man. By playing to that trigger the violence-against-women movement continues to grow and takes on the characteristics of a cult. For example, women entering a shelter must sign a secrecy agreement that they will not divulge what they see and hear inside.

The Ontario government has committed additional millions over the next year to the protection cause. Leaders want the wholesale battering of women to stop and that’s a noble thing to do — but first confirm the problem exists and has been properly framed.

Domestic violence courts violate the Charter rights of half the population — the male half. No presumption of innocence here. As shown earlier in this series, protocols are in place so police respond to domestic calls with orders to arrest the man. From that point, the couple can’t reconcile unless he pleads guilty to the criminal charge of domestic violence. They can’t even talk to each other because an automatic restraining order is part of the protocol. Plead guilty or you can’t go home.

The Ontario government has committed to opening more DV courts during the next year.

There’s little reaction to this spreading anti-violence net because people assume it won’t fall over them. It’s happening to 120 families a month in the capital.

I want to be clear. There are cases in which a man is getting what he deserves. But criminal courts, not political courts, should be dealing with him.

The Ontario government now spends $145 million a year on programs associated with preventing domestic violence and punishing its perpetrators, and the budget keeps rising. Then there’s tax-funded contributions at the municipal level, and the millions of dollars raised through charities like the United Way and others.

Hey, I’m prepared to make a donation myself if it will help eradicate domestic violence. But when the lobbyists for the domestic-violence industry tell me that this social problem is not an aberration but rather an epidemic, and won’t let me check it out, I’m not prepared to take it as an article of faith.

I reserve the right to ask questions.

Afghan Official Says Women’s Shelters Are Corrupt

CORRUPTION OF WOMEN’S SHELTERS HAS BEEN A GLOBAL ISSUE FOR YEARS. Thankfully, the real victims of domestic violence and abuse are speaking out, and will continue to speak out about this co-conspiracy, and atrocity. The intertwined personal and business relationships “protecting each other’s back” just to have a job and perks at the expense of the victims who sought the shelters’ help. This is despicable and barbaric.

The New York Times
02/15/2011
By Rod Nordland, Alissa J. Rubin

KABUL — Afghanistan’s top female official went on a sustained verbal assault on women’s shelters on Tuesday, accusing them of corruption and mismanagement, and insisting that the government was determined to take control of them, whether or not donors continue to give financial support.

The shelters, nearly all of them supported by Western charities and governments, provide safe havens for women and girls fleeing sexual and physical abuse, and give the runaways an alternative to seeking help from the authorities, who often forcibly return them to their families — and sometimes subject them to further abuse. The new rules would put government officials in charge of the shelters, provide close monitoring of their activities, and could even subject unmarried girls in them to virginity tests, critics complain.

“These shelters do not care about the women in them,” said Hussan Ghazanfar, the acting minister of women’s affairs, at a news conference she called to explain the government’s proposals. “There are thousands of women living around them, and they are not concerned about those women,” she said, adding “They are only concerned about their budgets.”

Asserting that the country’s 11 registered shelters spent $11 million last year taking care of 210 women, she said that was far more than was needed. “This is corruption, you can just count,” Ms. Ghazanfar said. “The shelters do not need this much money,”

However, 210 was the number of women in those shelters when officials checked on Monday, she conceded. Many of the women stay briefly until they can reconcile with their families or find an alternative living arrangement. They range from girls forced into child marriage to rape victims fleeing relatives who would kill them to assuage family honor.

Referring to Ms. Ghazanfar’s statistics, Manizha Naderi, who runs the Women for Afghan Women shelter in Kabul, said, “That’s just false information.” Her shelter, with a population of 40 on a given day, takes care of 350 women in a year, at a total cost of $100,000, she said.

Many women’s rights advocates have been alarmed by the government’s proposals. “What we’ve heard from our donors is they will not fund the government to run shelters,” Ms. Naderi said. Her nongovernmental organization is supported by donations and by foreign aid grants.

Ms. Ghazanfar suggested she was unconcerned about the possibility that international funding for the shelters would end. “The international community gives $11 million and we can work with much less of a budget,” she said. “If they are not ready to give us this money, only one million will take care of this. This budget we can find from anywhere.”

A statement issued by the United Nations recommended that the government consider revisions to the new regulations, as proposed by a legal review commission including human rights advocates as well as government officials.

“The U.N. recognizes that government monitoring and oversight of these centers is needed,” the statement said. “At the same time, civil society organizations should continue to operate women protection centers/shelters independently.”

Ms. Ghazanfar said government control of the shelters reflected the growing maturity of the Afghan government and the increased professionalism of its police, and was part of the broader transition process from dependency on foreign agencies.

Many women’s advocates, however, complain that shelters are needed because women cannot trust the police to act on their behalf. Many women, even very prominent ones, say no woman in Afghanistan would go into a police station without a man — even in Kabul and other major cities — for fear of being abused by the police.

Critics of the shelters have accused them, without offering any evidence, of serving as fronts for prostitution, and of undermining the importance of the family in Afghan life.

Others were critical of the embarrassment caused Afghanistan when 18-year-old Bibi Aisha, who had been rescued by a shelter after her Taliban husband cut her nose off, was pictured on Time magazine’s cover last year. The photograph recently won the World Press Photo of the Year award.

“Taking the responsibility of the shelters will reduce rumors about them,” Ms. Ghazanfar said. “This is not a threat to women’s freedom. It is more support for women.”

She said the new regulations came about as the result of a presidential commission that spent a year studying the shelters, but has not yet published its findings. “There are a series of violations we can see and we have told them many times,” she said. Asked for details, she said, “it would take up a lot of time to read all of them.”

She listed some. “Lack of order and discipline, and chaos in some of them. Lack of activities. Shifting women from one province to another. Not following their court cases responsibly. Lack of health facilities. Women kept two weeks when one week was enough. Failure to report problems. Lack of proper reports. Corruption in spending their budgets.”

She also said that many of the women in shelters were “deceived women who don’t have the necessary information about Islam,” and that shelter managers needed to remember that “the family is a sacred place.”

Echoing a favorite refrain of President Hamid Karzai, Ms. Ghazanfar said the international community was often more corrupt than Afghan institutions. “There was $10 million in U.N.D.P. funds for women. How was it spent? No one knows,” she said, referring to the United Nations Development Program, which funds some gender equality programs in Afghanistan, including one inside the Ministry of Women’s Affairs.

United Nations officials did not have an immediate comment on the charge.

Alissa J. Rubin contributed reporting from Kabul.


END NOTE:

Jane and Janet Doe also contacted the United Nations for support and the result - NO RESPONSE!

(Source: The New York Times)

Shelters used in war on men, expert claims by Karen Unland

Women’s shelters have become bunkers in a war against men, says a lecturer on family violence. Feminists have “hijacked the whole subject of domestic violence and made it their own,” said Erin Pizzey, billed as the founder of the world’s first refuge for battered women, in Chiswick, England in 1971. Men should be allowed to work in shelters to show abused women and children that not all men are violent, she said. "It’s a human problem. It’s not just a man problem," Pizzey told a news conference before joining a small protest Monday outside the Family Centre, a downtown counselling service. The protest and Pizzey’s visit to Edmonton were organized by the Movement to Establish Real Gender Equality, an anti-feminist group founded by Ferrel Christensen, a University of Alberta philosophy professor.

Christensen is angry at the Family Centre for a pamphlet on family violence that he says promotes the idea that only men are abusive. “In five seconds, anyone can see that this is not fair literature,” said Christensen, who has filed a complaint against the Family Centre with the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission. About a dozen men and women carried placards with such messages as “Stereotypes Hurt Everyone” and “Don’t Fund Gender Bias.” Officials from the Family Centre refused to comment.

Pizzey, who carried a sign reading "False Charges Are Also Abuse," said people have a responsibility to protest when social service organizations suggest that only men are violent. Most women who ended up at her shelter were “as violent as the men they left,” she said. Reacting to abuse they suffered as children, these women often abuse their own children and tend to return again and again to dangerous relationships, she said. ” It isn’t a question of just saying it’s only the man’s fault. It’s her responsibility as well,” Pizzey said.

Arlene Chapman, provincial coordinator of the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters, said Pizzey’s views are ludicrous. “She’s obviously out of step with the sheltering movement…It was the feminist movement that started the shelters, and thank God,” Chapman said. Last year, Alberta shelters housed 5,212 women and 6,232 children [ Note: According to shelter directors, 25% were not battered women, but women looking for hostels.].

Ms. Chapman said it is “absolutely preposterous” to suggest women and men are equally abusive. “There is a gross power imbalance between women and men,” she said. An abused woman tends to go back to her partner at least three times before she leaves for good. But it’s poverty, not a tendency to seek violent relationships, that sends the women back home, Ms. Chapman said of Pizzey: “This woman needs to be educated.”

(Source: ejfi.org)

Gimme Shelter: The Case for Domestic Violence Reform “System Abuse”

Canada and the US have the same plight when victims seek help and support. The organizations, refer, refer, refer, revictimize, refer, refer, refer, revictimize…, oppress, share their secret lists of those who speak out; they need to silence their voices. The best way to do this is to pass the buck, and keep passing the buck until the individual gives up and goes away. this is a small part of “system abuse.”

Victims everywhere are hoping that the public will start to take notice and implement responsive action. Stop donating your hard earned money to the organizations who have chosen to continue this cycle of abuse, revictimization, and isolation.

This article was written by women to show what happens behind closed doors to “women.” Imagine the challenges for the men. Our victims support both genders equally because “violence and abuse” has no boundaries. It happens to all races, all genders, within all religious practices, sexual orientations…” It can happen to anyone at anytime.


BY SIA ON OCTOBER 4, 2011


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Gimme Shelter: The Case for Domestic Violence Reform


By the time you go to bed tonight, 3 women will have been murdered by their husbands or boyfriends.

For millions of women, domestic violence is a matter of life and death, but victims of domestic abuse are being victimized again- ignored and abandoned by the very victim service providers that claim to help them. These publicly and privately funded agencies have no oversight – and are in desperate need of reform.

It’s hard to comprehend, but each month its estimated thousands of victims of abuse are turned away from state and federally domestic violence shelters and agencies. Many shelters refuse women with children, charge fees battered women cannot afford, and reject women because of their immigration status, their sexual orientation or their abuser’s occupation. A majority of those shelters that DO accept all victims are not funded by the private and pubic sector through NNEDV, NCADV, and state coalitions, so they are limited to the numbers of victims they can shelter.

When a victim of domestic violence calls a hotline at the local, state or national level, instead of help, they are often referred to another agency, which in turn refers them to yet another agency. Many women tell of being referred back to the same agencies, but receiving little or no practical help.

Maria DiBari, an abuse survivor who has since created the Tri-CountyCrisis Center in New York, says, “A victim will reach out in need of a specific resource and no one can provide it. Hotlines will refer to shelters and shelters will refer to other agencies and programs and those programs and agencies will refer them back to the shelters. So it becomes a vicious circle.”

DiBari approached many agencies including LSHV, OPDV, NCADV, NYS Coalition, every shelter in NY, Justice Centers in NYS, and she contacted all of her state officials for assistance and still could not get the resources she needed.

Alexis Moore, head of Survivors in Action, and also a former victim of abuse, agrees. “I was referred and referred and referred… until finally I was referred back to the same agencies that I had already been through.”

They both point to battered women like Heather Williams, of Connecticut, who has reached out to more than 50 state and local agencies, but has yet to receive the help she needs. Heather’s most dire need: legal representation.

“I am a victim of domestic violence and stalking. I have a four year-old daughter and have been in an ongoing custody battle with my abuser. In the past, I’ve had numerous orders of protection that have been violated, have been unable to obtain my own police reports, and, most recently, have been falsely charged with domestic violence. I’ve already spent $100,000 in attorneys’ fees for child custody and have been unsuccessful in my attempts to protect my daughter and myself from my abuser. I live in fear of retaliation. Once you’ve left, the danger is far from over. Now your abuser is on the war-path, and there’s no one to help you.”

Finding and obtaining legal representation is the biggest challenge for victims. Many victims go without legal counsel because they can’t afford lawyers. Agencies will often refer them to Legal Aid, a service that provides free representation, but few if any of their attorneys are experienced in domestic violence law, an essential () to help victims of abuse navigate the courts, DCF/CPS, the paperwork, the endless bureaucracy, and the legal tricks their abusers will play.

Heather, after requesting assistance from more than 50 government and private agencies in New York and Connecticut, as well as the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, has yet to find a pro-bono attorney to take her case.

Often services offered women are simply denied. Lily Morales contacted the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence – one of the most heavily funded agencies in the United States – for free reconstructive surgery after her abuser disfigured her face. Though surgery is advertised as a service the NCADV provides, Morales was refused.

Other women are simply given incorrect or bad advice. Alexis Moore was told by prosecutors, law enforcement, victim advocates, domestic violence shelters, and other agencies to change her social security number for safety reasons, only to have her request repeatedly denied by the social security administration, for “lack of ongoing abuse” – the standard reply in such cases. When the SSA does grant a social security number changes, victims have actually been arrested and accused of identity theft or fraud.

Karen Elkins, a pro-bass angler, abuse survivor, SIA advisory board member and DV Reform supporter was denied social security number change for safety in 2009. The letter she received from SSA denying her social security number change for safety is like what is estimated to be millions of letters received by abuse victims from SSA each denied by SSA for the same reason,
“lack of ongoing abuse”.

There is little oversight of how federal and state funded agencies spend their money: no assessment as to whether or not these agencies are meeting the victims’ needs. Even worse, victims have no recourse when this happens – no place to report this second victimization.
The problem is NOT money but instead how monies and resources are allocated by publicly-funded agencies. DV Reform is about bringing oversight and accountability to these agencies. DV agencies and victim service providers are not regulated as other agencies are yet they deal with customers i.e. victims who are facing life or death circumstances. Victims left behind need to have a place to file formal complaints like consumers have today with law enforcement, businesses and other government agencies.

Everyone knows all too well what DV is. The problem now is victims who are reaching out for help find that no real help exists and there is no place to turn when they are left behind to complain or file a formal complaint.

We are advocating for their to be a federal domestic violence oversight committee for EVERY agency who operates in U.S. that receives funding from public or private sector – where victims can document experience and file complaints.

By writing to local, state and federal officials in support of DV Reform, individuals can use social media platforms to promote this cause as well and join with Tri-County Crisis Center and Survivors In Action by visiting our web sites and contacting us there.

www.SurvivorsInAction.org and TriCountyCrisisCenter.org

(Source: TriCountyCrisisCenter.org )

Victims’ Perspectives of Shelters: “They don’t assist you at all. Once they allow you into the shelter, as far as they’re concerned, they’ve done their job.”

Battered women’s shelters are supposed to be caring, and supportive facilities. But women who seek refuge in them often tell a different story. Those below all requested anonymity. Some fear personal or professional reprisals, others wish to protect their own privacy and that of their children.


Winnipeg

In May 1996, Shirley knocked on the door of a Winnipeg battered women’s shelter with her two teenage daughters. The then 34-year-old aboriginal woman says she turned to the facility not because her common-law husband had been violent, but because they’d had a fight, it was late, and she had nowhere else to go. “He didn’t beat me up or nothing, we just had an argument,” she says. “It was just a time out. I needed a place for my kids to stay and sleep and eat.”

Because the shelter serves battered women, it would have been understandable if Shirley had been re-directed to a hostel. Instead, she says, the workers who took her in ignored her actual situation and pressured her to conform to their stereotypes.

"They asked me if I was abused, and I said, ‘No.’ They wanted me to get a lawyer, and I said, ‘For what?’"

Shirley says shelter employees tried to “trick” her into making incriminating statements about her husband. “Everything negative about him, they wrote it down. If I said something nice about him, they wouldn’t write it down. I kept telling them, ‘No, he didn’t hit me.’”

She says she was offered incentives such as housing and furniture to leave her husband. “They said, ‘If you leave him, we can help you find a place right away.’ But I said, ‘I don’t want to leave him.’”

Two years later, Shirley is adamant she wouldn’t turn to a shelter again. “For me to leave my common-law, they wanted that so bad. They were trying to break up a family, and I didn’t want that.”


Halifax

In fear of her violent ex-husband, Judy stayed in a Halifax shelter six years ago before fleeing the province. She describes it as “an experience from hell. I couldn’t wait to get out of there.” The workers in the shelter, she says, attempted to browbeat residents whose views differed from theirs.

"Many of these women had come from situations where there was inappropriate control of them by somebody else in the household. And what I saw was that they were now being controlled by a feminist ideology. [The message was:] ‘You believe what we believe, you do what we say, or get out of here.’"


Brantford

Laura received counselling at a Southern Ontario shelter in 1989. “The counsellor I had was convinced I had suffered some kind of sexual abuse as a child,” she says. She was told that she had repressed the memories and that she would heal if she could remember the identity of her abuser.

"That was a really dark year. If I had kept with her I don’t know what would have happened. This woman was bound and bent that she was going to convince me I’d been abused. It was a dangerous, dangerous thing to do."


Toronto

Lisa, an unemployed social worker, sought refuge at a Toronto shelter earlier this year [1998]. “It was awful,” she says. “I lasted two days. I will never do it again.” She says she needed assistance putting her life back together, but that shelter staff wasn’t much help.

"If you wanted to talk, you had to stand in line and buttonhole them. Staff stayed in the office and residents stayed in the living area. If this is supportive housing, they’ve got a lot to learn about the word ‘support.’"


Winnipeg

Samantha says the RCMP had to break down the front door to pull her abusive husband off her so often that “it got to the point where you couldn’t even close the door any more.” But after fleeing to a Winnipeg shelter in 1994, Samantha says she returned to her abusive husband rather than remain at the facility. “My experience was it was a horrible place. It’s such a cold atmosphere in there; you’re treated like cattle.”

She says shelter staff were unhelpful, inattentive, and inexperienced. “They don’t assist you at all. Once they allow you into the shelter, as far as they’re concerned, they’ve done their job.”


Terri:

Two years ago, Terri admitted that she abused the battered-women’s shelter system. Although her husband had never assaulted her, she told a Winnipeg conference examining false allegations in family law that she lied to shelter staff, and to herself, because it was absurdly easy and because she had something to gain.

Terri says her husband’s drinking problem made their seven-year relationship a rocky one, and that she had left him before. Her mother urged her to go to a shelter, she says, in the belief that the counselors would help her achieve independence. Terri (who requested anonymity to spare her now former husband further embarrassment), says she telephoned a Winnipeg shelter and was told only abused women were admitted. “I went to the door and I cried and said that my husband was abusive. My kids weren’t with me because I didn’t want them to see how I had to get in.”

Terri says the intake worker accepted her story at face value. So she retrieved her sons, then three and six years old, and went back to the shelter where staff began coaching her on how to gain the upper hand in divorce court.

Terri says residents were told that “the first thing we needed to do was obtain a restraining order against our spouse. We were instructed to write down our complaints on paper and bring them with us when we went to see our lawyer.”

In Terri’s case, the result was a ten-page affidavit alleging not that her husband was physically abusive, but that he displayed characteristics one might expect in an alcoholic. “A lot of the stuff I wrote up in the court document was about his hygiene. I complained about always having bladder infections because he never had a bath.” On the basis of this affidavit, she says, “I got the restraining order and soon after I got full custody of my children with no visitation for my husband.”

Later, the full import of her actions sank in. “I realized what I had done. My children had not seen their father for a year, yet I was never afraid that he would harm them or myself,” says Terri, now a 36-year-old therapist. “It was not a fair fight. I had the shelter and the women’s movement on my side.”

During parliamentary committee hearings on child custody and access earlier this year (the final report is due in early December), women’s-shelter spokespeople showed up in full force. Their propensity to stereotype all fathers in custody battles as abusive and all mothers as besieged victims came as no surprise to lawyers and community activists alarmed by the role shelters now play in divorce matters. In addition to providing moral support to women who appear on their doorstep, shelters also supply letters of endorsement that are highly prejudicial to the women’s spouses in court — despite the fact that the shelter employees have never met the men involved, have only heard one side of the story, and have only known the women for a short time under highly artificial conditions.

Susan Baragar, who practices primarily family law in Winnipeg, describes herself as a feminist but believes nevertheless that it is “all too easy” for women to get these letters from shelters, and warns that they are a highly potent weapon.”

Judges are “most definitely swayed” if a woman is staying at a shelter and court documents include a letter from the facility implying that the father is dangerous, says Ms. Baragar. “I mean, you’ve got sort of a ‘professional’ now saying he shouldn’t see his kids.”

Ms. Baragar, herself, has used the tactic on behalf of her own clients. She cites a recent case in which she represented a woman who “came in with this two- or three-page letter which I attached to the affidavit, and [the father] was denied access on that basis. Nothing else. It depends on the judge. Some judges are more cautious than others. But in that particular case he was absolutely denied access.”

Ms. Baragar says the opposing lawyer “argued that this was not an unbiased letter, that both parties had not been interviewed. He got absolutely nowhere.”

Since the parent who first secures legal child custody is almost certain to be awarded it later (authorities are reluctant to disrupt the children’s lives once again), relationships between fathers and children are being ripped asunder in some cases merely on the say-so of a shelter worker.

In 1995, a Manitoba shelter worker wrote a two-page letter on behalf of a resident. The worker was able to discern, from their first meeting, that the woman “had been a victim of abuse in her childhood and now as a adult.” Writing that she hoped “the court will recognize this letter of support,” the worker pronounced the woman to be “intelligent, insightful, and sincere.”

But in 1997, after hearing submissions from the woman’s spouse and the Winnipeg Child and Family Services, a judge came to a different conclusion. Only in her early 20s, the woman had already made seven sexual-abuse complaints to police involving eleven different people. (The only complaint in which a charge was deemed warranted resulted in an acquittal.) “At one time or another,” wrote the judge, the woman had “accused her father, brother, and sister of sexually abusing her.” In the judge’s view, her credibility was undermined by the fact that, “despite these allegations she had no hesitation in living with her father and her sister and in exposing her father to her own children.” The woman eventually abandoned her custody bid, and the children were placed in the care of their paternal grandmother.

In Burlington, Ontario, in 1995, a counselor at a women’s shelter wrote a supportive letter regarding a client and her relationship to her then two-year-old daughter and twelve-year-old son. Although the children had joined their mother in the shelter only eight days earlier, the staffer felt no hesitation in declaring the woman to be a “loving and devoted mother” and in expressing the “strong feeling” that child custody should be awarded to her rather than to the husband she was leaving.

But this woman’s maternal track record was in fact less than stellar. Four years earlier, the Children’s Aid Society had successfully convinced a court that she was a danger to her son and an older daughter, then aged twelve, who did not accompany her to the shelter.

After monitoring the situation for three months, a Children’s Aid worker told the court that both children “admitted being afraid of their mother much of the time.” On one occasion she allegedly threatened her spouse with a knife and then threatened to commit suicide. On another occasion, she allegedly “opened the car door while it was traveling along the highway and threatened to jump.” The worker noted that “Both of these incidents occurred in the presence of the children.” Nevertheless, the courts awarded custody of all three children to the woman. [ Note : See description of emotional terrorists above.]

At yet another shelter, in Orillia, Ontario, a staffer wrote a letter in 1994 addressing the question of who should get custody of two boys, aged two and three. Despite the fact that no trial had yet been held, this staffer declared that their mother “had been physically assaulted” by her husband before fleeing to the shelter. The mere fact that the mother had shown up at a shelter was proof that she was “a conscientious and caring parent.” The letter ended with the declaration that “it would be a great disservice” to the children if custody was not awarded to their mother. With the aid of the letter, the woman secured custody.

In 1997, a Toronto shelter worker wrote a letter on behalf of a woman who had been in residence for six weeks. It flatly announced that the woman had been “physically and emotionally” abused by the husband she was leaving and said that since “her children are her life,” she should be assisted in gaining custody. However, in a report dated a week prior to the shelter’s letter, a psychologist who interviewed the woman during her stay noted that she’d told him her husband “has never struck her physically.” Interim custody has been awarded to the mother.

Ms. Baragar has had women’s-shelter letters expunged from the record when attempts have been made to use them against her own clients. "There is a rule that you’re technically not supposed to just attach reports to somebody else’s affidavit," she says. "When I see letters like that I go pretty hard core and insist that a separate affidavit then be sworn — which gives me the right to cross-examine the maker of the statement. [The shelter workers] usually chicken out. They haven’t wanted to swear affidavits." Many lawyers, she says, are unfamiliar with the tactic.

Mary McManus, a lawyer in Victoria, B.C., shares many of Ms. Baragar’s concerns. While she thinks “shelters are very important and fulfil a useful function,” she feels staffers should refrain from expressing opinions regarding situations about which they have limited knowledge.

"The workers at the shelters come with different backgrounds, experience, and education. What they say may well be justified, but may not be as well."

Ms. McManus agrees that the courts “tend to place a great deal of weight on just the fact that a woman went to a shelter. I’ve had a lot of experience in bail hearings where men have been accused of abusing their spouse and the fact that the spouse is in the shelter can be accepted as evidence that there has been abuse.”

Greta Smith, the executive director of the British Columbia/Yukon Society of Transition Houses says her organization has no policy regarding shelters writing letters on behalf of clients. While she admits it’s “possible that some transition houses would write supportive letters,” the idea makes her uncomfortable.

"I guess I would have to see the letter. I’m sorry, I have some difficulty with that. The fact that people would write letters without some good solid reasons for writing a letter. Without seeing the letter and without finding out what the circumstances are, it would be very difficult to make a comment on that."

When asked whether it’s possible that some women are going to shelters as a divorce tactic, Ms. Smith replies: “Anything in this world is possible, but I do not believe that happens.”

Louise Malenfant, a community activist in Winnipeg, calls shelters “one-stop divorce shops for women,” and is disturbed by their ‘no questions asked policy.’ She claims that in addition to helping women who make false allegations of wife abuse, shelters in her city have helped manufacture incest accusations.

Over the past four years, Ms. Malenfant has been an advocate for 62 individuals who claimed to be falsely accused of child sexual abuse during divorce proceedings. In a third of those cases, she says, a women’s shelter was involved.

At 1996 public hearings into the Manitoba Child and Family Services Act, Ms. Malenfant alleged that children were taken into a room that was off limits to their mothers, subjected to a sexual-abuse awareness program, and inappropriately questioned by shelter staff.

"If you expose children to sexual material and you question them repeatedly over the course of a week or two, that child can literally repeat what they’ve been taught," Ms. Malenfant told the National Post.

She maintains that even mothers who would not have otherwise accused their spouses of incest were compelled to treat such allegations seriously after they arose during a shelter stay. Ms. Malenfant has publicly called for an inquiry into women’s shelters, and has written letters to government officials protesting their policies. As a result, that particular issue seems to have disappeared. “It was like somebody sucked that problem right out of the place,” Ms. Malenfant says. “I have not seen a new women’s-shelter case in over a year. I don’t know what [the government has] done; all I know is that it stopped.”

"It’s extremely disturbing," says Ms. Baragar of the role shelters have been playing in custody and divorce proceedings. "I get very angry about it from a personal basis, because I think that there are very real cases of abuse and what I see happening in the courts is that those cases now have less value because of the lies that are so easily" being told.

In the last year, Ms. Baragar says she has sensed a growing cynicism from the bench.

"Judges are now more willing to believe that this is just a lie. You know, it got to a point for a while that I couldn’t pick up a woman’s affidavit where she wasn’t accusing him of abuse. You’d get page after page of what was being called abuse, and people were quite prepared to go to women’s shelters for it.

I mean, not everything is abuse. Just because it wasn’t a fun fight doesn’t mean it was abuse.”


UNFORTUNATELY, IN CANADA, THERE ARE A SELECT FEW WOMEN’S SHELTERS THAT HAVE STAYED COMPLETELY TRUE TO THEIR GRASS ROOTS VALUES, BELIEFS AND INITIATIVES. THEY ARE HONEST, INTEGRITY-DRIVEN PEOPLE WHO STAND BESIDE THE VICTIMS EVERY STEP OF THE WAY, START TO FINISH, NO EXCEPTIONS. ALL WHO COME THROUGH THEIR DOORS ARE TREATED EQUALLY. THESE ARE THE HEROS WHO DESERVE THE PUBLIC SERVICE AND HERO AWARDS, NOT THE OTHERS. YOU CAN SPOT THESE TYPES OF PEOPLE A MILE A WAY. HOW? THEY PREFER TO STAY IN THE BACKGROUND. WHY? THEY DO NOT NEED THE GLORY AND PRESTIGE TO HELP DEFINE WHO THEY ARE AND THEIR PURPOSE OF HELPING THE VULNERABLE, UNCONDITIONALLY.

FROM MANY VICTIMS’ PERSPECTIVES THEY SAY THAT THE FINANCIAL DONORS AND OTHER CONTRIBUTORS ARE BETTER OFF HELPING A FAMILY OR FAMILIES DIRECTLY RATHER THAN DONATING TO THE ORGANIZATION. WHY? THIS WAY YOU KNOW EVERY CENT YOU GIVE GOES DIRECTLY TO THE PERSON IN NEED. ONE OF THE BENEFITS IS YOU HELP TO FAST-TRACK THEIR HEALING PROCESS. IT GIVES THEM THE OPPORTUNITY TO GET BACK ON THEIR FEET QUICKER. AND IT DRASTICALLY MINIMIZES THEIR EXPOSURE TO THE DAMAGING EFFECTS OF SYSTEM ABUSE.

IF YOU STILL CHOOSE TO GO THE ROUTE OF DONATING DIRECTLY TO AN ORGANIZATION, MAKE SURE YOU GO TO THE CRA WEBSITE AND CHECK THEM OUT. SEE HOW MUCH MONEY IS BEING SPENT ON WHAT? SOMETIMES SHELTERS HAVE MORE PEOPLE WORKING THAN WHAT THEY ARE REQUIRED TO REPORT. THIS SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED. IF YOU HAVE 20 EMPLOYEES THEN YOU MUST LIST THE SALARIES FOR ALL NOT JUST THE TOP 10.

CERTAIN PORTIONS OF THE ORGANIZATION’S INFORMATION IS HIDDEN FROM PUBLIC VIEWING AND SCRUTINY - CRA ALLOWS THEM TO “HIDE” CERTAIN PARTS. THIS MUST NOT BE ALLOWED NOR EVER BE ALLOWED TO CONTINUE!! THEY ARE A REGISTERED CHARITY WHO RECEIVES GOVERNMENT AND PRIVATE FUNDING, SUPPOSEDLY WORKING IN THE ‘BEST INTERESTS” OF THE PEOPLE THEY CLAIM TO SERVE. MANY STORIES OVER THE YEARS HAVE EXPOSED MISAPPROPRIATION OF FUNDS THEREFORE IT’S TIME FOR THESE ORGANIZATIONS TO BE 100% TRANSPARENT AND ACCOUNTABLE TO THE PEOPLE PROVIDING THEIR FUNDING TO BE USED FOR THE NEEDS OF THE VULNERABLE.

ASK, ASK, ASK QUESTIONS, BECAUSE NOT ALL THE INFORMATION IS ACCESSIBLE TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC. THERE ARE ORGANIZATIONS OUT THERE THAT WHEN ASKED, THEY WILL NOT GIVE IT TO YOU; ONLY AN EXCUSE.

THERE ARE MANY ORGANIZATIONS THAT ARE NOT EVER QUESTIONED OR INVESTIGATED BY THE PUBLIC DIRECTLY ABOUT THEIR BUSINESS PRACTICES. WHY? BECAUSE THEY HAVE A LONG-STANDING SOLID NAME IN THE COMMUNITY. THIS IS HOW THE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE BASE THEIR DECISION-MAKING ON; OR BASE IT ON A TRUSTED FRIEND’S REFERRAL.

IT IS IMPORTANT IN TODAY’S WORLD NOT TO RELY ON THEIR GOOD NAME ALONE AND THE PERSONAL OR BUSINESS REFERRALS MADE. DO YOUR HOMEWORK, DO YOUR RESEARCH, DO LIKE THE “UNDERCOVER BOSS” SHOW AND SEE THE REAL TRUTH FOR YOURSELF EVEN IF YOU HAVE TO GO, “UNDER COVER.”

REMEMBER AT THE END OF THE DAY, WHEN ORGANIZATIONS RECEIVE GOVERNMENT FUNDING “WHERE DO THEIR LOYALTIES LIE?” DO YOU THINK THEY ARE GOING TO BITE THE HAND THAT FEEDS THEM, STAFF PERKS, BENEFTIS, ATTENDING CONFERENCES IN TROPICAL LOCATIONS, COMPANY VEHICLES ALL AROUND, MATERIAL DONATIONS GIVEN FOR THE VICTIMS BUT THEY GO THROUGH THEM FIRST. THEY TAKE THE “CREAM OF THE CROP” AND THEN THE LEFT OVERS GO TO THE VICTIMS FOR THEIR CHOOSING. THIS TOO HAS ITS SHORTCOMINGS. FAVOURTISM AND SURVIVAL IS A VERY LARGE PART OF SHELTER LIVING THAT INCLUDES THE “PECKING ORDER.” FOR THE VICTIMS SAKE YOU HOPE YOU ARE ONE OF THE FAVOURITES OR YOU’LL END UP AT THE “PIG’S TROUGH” SO TO SPEAK. THE FAVOURED GET THE FIRST PICKS AFTER THE WORKERS. THE TROUGHERS GET THE LEFT OVER SCRAPS.

I KNOW THIS MAY BE REALLY HARD FOR THE PUBLIC TO ENVISION. BUT WHOSE WORD WOULD YOU TAKE AS BEING HONEST, TRUTHFUL AND MORE CREDIBLE? THE THOUSANDS OF STORIES PRESENTED BY VICTIMS WHO HAVE SEEN AND LIVED LIFE ON THE INSIDE? OR THE SHELTER WORKERS WHO GET PAID FROM THE FUNDS THEY RECEIVE, GIVING THEM A JOB AND THE PERKS. THEY NEED THE FUNDS TO KEEP COMING IN SO THEY WILL TELL YOU EXACTLY WHAT THEY WANT YOU TO HEAR. SHOW YOU ONLY WHAT THEY THINK YOU SHOULD SEE. CONTINUOUSLY TALK THE NUMBERS PUBLICLY EVEN IF THEY’VE INFLATED THE FACTS, AMONG OTHER THINGS.


STORIES TOLD DIRECTLY BY THE VICTIMS.

CRA Charities Listings


I have provided two samples of some of the information you will see in their returns (go to the CRA website for the full listing).


2011
Registered Charity Information Return for

ALBERTA COUNCIL OF WOMEN’S SHELTERS
•Basic Information Sheet
•Section A. Identification
•Section B. Directors/Trustees and Like Officials
•Section C. Programs and General Information
•Section D. Financial Information
•Section E. Certification (Information not available to the public)
•Section F. Confidential data (Information not available to the public)


•Schedule 1 - Foundations
•Schedule 2 - Activities Outside Canada
•Schedule 3 - Compensation
•Schedule 4 - Confidential Data (Information not available to the public)
•Schedule 5 - Non-Cash Gifts
•Schedule 6 - Detailed Financial Information

Basic Information Sheet
Designation: Charitable Organization
Fiscal Period End: 2011-03-31 
Registration Date: 1983-04-11 
BN/registration number: 118780634RR0001 
Telephone number: 780-456-7000 
Fax number: 780-456-7001 
E-mail address: VOICE@ACWS.CA
Web site address: WWW.ACWS.CA
Public contact name or position: PROVINCIAL COORDINATOR
Names the charity is known by other than its registered name: ACWS


Program areas:
The three primary areas in which the charity is now carrying on programs to achieve its charitable purposes are listed below. The program areas are ranked according to the percentage of time and resources devoted to each program area.

Rank Description Field Code % of

Emphasis

1 Emergency shelter A10 40%
2 Public education, other study programs C10 40%
3 Family and crisis counselling, financial counselling A11 20%


Another example is Interval House:


Schedule 3: Compensation - INTERVAL HOUSE

1 (a) Enter the number of permanent, full-time, compensated positions in the fiscal period. This number should represent the number of positions the charity had including both managerial positions and others, and should not include independent contractors. 300
23 

(b) For the ten (10) highest compensated, permanent, full-time positions enter the number falling within each of the following annual compensation categories.

$1 - $39, 999 305

$40,000 - $79,999 310

$80,000 - $119,999 315

$120,000 - $159,999 320

$160,000 - $199,999 325

$200,000 - $249,999 330

$250,000 - $299,999 335

$300,000 - $349,999 340

$350,000 and over 345

2 (a) Enter the number of part-time or part-year (for example, seasonal) employees the charity employed during the fiscal period 370 10 

(b) What was the total expenditure on compensation for part-time or part-year employees in the fiscal period? 380 $ 102,599 

3 What was the charity’s total expenditure on all compensation in the fiscal period?

(Source: cra-arc.gc.ca)

Criminal charges, mismanagement, infighting and sexual politics have left many women’s shelters as bruised as the people they serve

Last week, following an investigation by Ontario’s Alcohol and Gaming Commission, Barrie police charged Anne Marie Aikins, the former executive director of the Barrie and District Rape Crisis Line, with criminal breach of trust, fraud over $5,000, and theft over $5,000. Four members of the crisis line’s board of directors as well as the organization’s office administrator face identical charges.

Police allege the crisis line, which provided counselling at a centre in the city, misappropriated funds when it used charity bingo money to pay for Aikins’ legal defence in an earlier criminal matter.

In February of this year, Aikins was convicted of fraud over $1,000 after a three-week trial. A jury heard that she used the crisis line’s credit card to pay for approximately $14,000 in personal items such as clothing, furniture, airline tickets, exercise equipment, and restaurant meals.

Following her conviction, Aikins, as well as the crisis line’s board of directors, continued to insist she had done nothing wrong. They say she reimbursed the organization and only used the credit card because she wasn’t able to qualify for a personal one after the breakdown of her marriage.

But at the trial, the Crown said reimbursements to the centre totalled less than $1,000. And Justice Peter Howden later noted that the existence of the credit card “became a little secret, completely unrecorded in the minutes of the organization, known to some but not all of the board.”

In July, the Ontario government withdrew more than $400,000 in annual funding from the crisis line, forcing its closure a month ago.

The events in Barrie are not isolated. They are part of a long history of financial disarray, weak accountability, criminal charges, lawsuits, mass resignations, and vicious infighting that have plagued crisis centres and battered women’s shelters across the country [Canada].

Underlying all of it is the political context in which these services operate. They are supposed to be safe harbours in the storm. And the fact that they are run by feminists is supposed to mean that victimized women receive top priority.

But a growing chorus of critics say the highly politicized character of many facilities means that the clients’ needs take second place to the agenda of the people in charge. In some cases, the critics say, these services are being run by zealots concerned with dogma who are overtly hostile to men, male children, and heterosexual relationships.

"I can’t say what it’s like now; I’ve kept my distance," says Madelyn Iler, a former shelter worker in Kingston, Ontario. "But in my experience, there was a very militant political agenda that came first. The interests of the client were way down there."

In 1991, when the author June Callwood resigned from Nellie’s, the Toronto women’s hostel and shelter she founded in 1974, the nation caught glimpses of the noxious political squabbles that almost destroyed that facility. Differences of opinion deteriorated into allegations of racism and homophobia, funds that should have been used to help unfortunate women were consumed by mediators, and many longtime supporters withdrew in disgust.

In 1993, a victim of an attempted abduction complained to the media that staffers at the Hamilton rape crisis centre were anti-police and anti-male. “They strongly discourage trust and respect in the police and there is no desire to help a woman continue dealing with men, not even her partner,” said the woman, who questioned the propriety of counsellors expressing “such strong opinions” to vulnerable people.

After other women came forward with similar concerns, an independent review was conducted that identified a litany of problems at the centre. According to the report, the centre had a reputation among other community organizations for being “defensive, insular and ‘on the fringe.’”

During the review, four members of the centre’s board resigned. They claimed staff did not believe in accountability and were refusing to answer questions or take direction from the board.

A half-hour drive away, the Niagara Region Sexual Assault Centre was also in turmoil. During a closed-door meeting in May 1993, the old board was replaced by a new slate of 12 people who changed the locks and dismissed the executive director. The province threatened to cut off funding if stability wasn’t restored, and the fired executive director filed a lawsuit.

And the list of troubled centres kept growing. In Calgary, the board of the sexual assault centre laid off the staff, closed down the agency, and resigned in 1993. The centre went into receivership, was investigated by city auditors, had its insurance cancelled, and was closed for 16 months. Among the outstanding controversies were allegations of breaches of client confidentiality, lawsuits filed by three former employees, and the improper use of funds earmarked for other purposes.

In 1994, the women’s shelter in Kingston, Ontario, was in an uproar. After three damning reviews in as many years, the Ontario government withdrew $180,000 in annual funding designated for counselling and employment programs, and put the shelter on notice that another $314,000 for general services was in jeopardy if changes were not made.

A letter signed by ten shelter staffers, including Madelyn Iler, alleged that “the workplace [was] used to further extreme militant feminist philosophy” and that lesbian employees received preferential treatment while heterosexual ones were told not to “discuss their wedding plans or their wedding days with their co-workers.”

Also in 1994, the atmosphere at Nelson House, a Nepean, Ontario, battered women’s shelter, became so acrimonious that police were called in after a staffer tried to prevent the chair of the board from entering the building. Residents witnessed some pushing and shoving.

An independent consultant reported “numerous incidents of yelling, put-downs [and] disrespect for differences of viewpoints” among staffers. A second report noted that while the primary purpose of such a facility should be to help victimized women, Nelson’s mission statement “begins and ends with an emphasis on striving to fulfill the needs of staff and protecting the ‘personal power’ of staff.”

By late 1996, two factions at Nelson House were asking a judge to decide who was in charge, and for a time it was shut down.

Meanwhile, Ottawa’s Interval House shelter was also in trouble. A 1994 report concluded that that facility was so dysfunctional it should be closed down. In 1995, police were called after a staffer accused a director of assaulting her. One woman was charged with assault while a stalking charge was laid against another. In June 1995, the board resigned. The following January, the entire staff was fired.

In Toronto, Shirley Samaroo House — meant to help immigrant women — collapsed in 1994. Resignations, mediators, and concern from provincial funders were elements there too, as racial squabbles, intolerance, and extremism tore the shelter apart.

In April 1996, the province of Nova Scotia yanked funding and temporarily shut down Yarmouth’s Juniper House shelter after its board resigned — citing tension between staffers and the board. Ruth Ann Deveau, the former executive director, had been convicted of fraud under $1,000, after her successor found funds were unaccounted for.

At Kingston’s Sexual Assault Crisis Centre, 15 volunteers quit in protest in 1996. One concern was the fact that the directors had decided to stop using a local auctioneer for charity events. The reason, in the words of one board member: “She is married to a Tory and the ramifications of that are unavoidable.” The centre also began to decline free food from a local Domino’s Pizza, because the American founder and then-owner of the chain is a pro-life supporter.

Five days after a summer student revealed these board decisions to the media, she was fired from her job and told she would not be welcome as a volunteer.

The havoc at two shelters in Edmonton, both run by the Women in Need organization, stretches back to the beginning of the decade. In 1992, one faction sought a court injunction over the results of a board election. Amid allegations of voting irregularities, eight board members resigned. A month later, the provincial auditor was called in to investigate. Between 1993 and 1995, the organization had three different executive directors.

Earlier this year, during a bitter labour dispute, a representative of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (to which staff now belong) alleged that “53 employees over the past three years have resigned or been dismissed” out of a “permanent complement of 28.” The union has characterized management as “oppressive and controlling,” while workers have told the media that shelter clients are leaving the facility because services aren’t available.

While accountability is a buzzword in the women’s movement where male behavior is concerned, report after report has stressed that accountability is sorely lacking in feminist-run social services. Tens of millions of public and charitable dollars are handed over every year to organizations with long records of financial and managerial scandal. Rather than attracting people who can put aside differences and comfort the afflicted, these organizations have become magnets for militants who seem instead to view such services as an opportunity to proselytize.

Barbara MacQuarrie, president of the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres, says that a client using these services will be urged to:

"…put her experience as an individual into a larger socioeconomic political context where women experience violence systematically. We try to tell somebody, this isn’t just about you. This is about the way women are treated, and we have a whole bunch of institutions and systems that reinforce that kind of treatment."

But Jeannette McEachern, who ran the Calgary Distress Centre for 17 years and who stepped into the breach when that city’s rape crisis centre closed temporarily, believes it’s inappropriate to mix politics and counselling.

"What tends to happen is that they politicize clients that are really supposed to be into healing," she says. "I have no problem with political action, but I think it should be done by other people not working with clients."

McEachern read the rape crisis centre’s volunteer manual in the early ’90s and found that “three-quarters of it was [devoted to] strong feminist philosophy.”

Pauline Green is a lawyer who helped set up Toronto’s rape crisis centre in the early ’70s, and says, “Every feminist organization that I’ve been involved in, there’s been a lot of infighting.” Green has resigned more than once because the male-bashing got too blatant and the attacks from colleagues too personal. “I’m sure women who go for help get this philosophy: that you have to hate men or you’re lost.”

As a Toronto social worker in the ’70s, Raymond Selbie worked closely with a women’s hostel. Today, two decades after he began practicing law in Haliburton, Ontario, Selbie says things are different.

"There’s been a drastic change in the mentality that’s controlling shelters. Now what I see with [the local shelter], and what I hear from other lawyers, is they don’t even want you in there to help a client. They won’t let you physically in the shelter. Even if I get signed releases from my client, they simply will not talk to me."

Yet despite all this strife and disgrace, the people now operating shelters and crisis centres don’t admit their vision might be flawed. In the words of Vilma Rossi, executive director of the Hamilton sexual assault centre, separating feminism from sex assault counselling is like “separating Catholicism from a church service.” She believes “it’s the feminist philosophy that makes the service a good one.”

Alberta shelter spokesperson Arlene Chapman blames the difficulties feminist social services have encountered in recent years on government indifference and poor wages: “There’s not a lot of support for women’s services in the province of Alberta, and women’s work is terribly undervalued.” Chapman says this “creates some morale problems in the agencies.”

Nor does MacQuarrie accept that mistakes have been made. Her organization has been known to demand that government officials step aside until allegations of sexual harassment against them have been resolved. But the fraud charges laid in 1992 against Anne Marie Aikins, the Barrie crisis line’s executive director, did not stop her from serving two terms, from 1992-1996, as the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centre’s president.

"Bodies make their own decisions," MacQuarrie told the National Post. "And it doesn’t really matter, most times, what external people think about that." In her view, the charges against Aikins were "politically motivated."

"I think she has been targeted as a high-profile feminist. I think she was seen as a woman who has a certain amount of power and influence, and given her strong feminist perspective I think that was not appreciated by elements of the male-dominated establishment."

MacQuarrie believes Aikins is innocent and that she was convicted of fraud because she lives in a small town. “I don’t know if you know Barrie. I don’t know if you know what Barrie thinks of rape crisis centres,” says MacQuarrie. “People in Barrie don’t like feminists, or the jury didn’t like feminists.”

(Source: ejfi.org)

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