Domestic violence on the rise in the NWT?
Wednesday, February 9, 2011 - 7:51 AM
Yellowknife, N.W.T. - Is there more domestic violence now in the NWT than there was a few years ago?
Recently compiled statistics show the RCMP reported 640 incidents of spousal assaults in 2010, some 100 more reported cases compared to the year before.
The MLA for Kam Lake, Dave Ramsay, said data from the Dept. of Justice and the RCMP point to a bleak reality.
"In 2008, close to 70% of all adults in custody in the Northwest Territories were sentenced for violent crimes, compared to 49% in 2001-2002," he said. "A staggering 43% increase over seven years."
Someone who works daily with offenders and the justice system says the higher number of reported cases doesn't necessarily mean there's been a spike in family violence.
Lydia Bardak with the John Howard Society said more people may be reporting assaults and also, the RCMP are dealing with complaints differently.
"Before I jump on with saying there's an increase in family violence, I would say there is much more awareness in the RCMP to recognize it and deal harshly with it and much more commitment in the courts to deal with it as well," she said.
Bardak also pointed out that a change in legislation in the early 2000's allows the RCMP to charge accused people without the cooperation of a victim.
Ramsay said the quoted statistics are supplied by the RCMP, the Departments of Justice and Health, as well as from the Status of Women Council.
CJCD hasn't had confirmation yet from the RCMP or the Dept. of Justice on the statistics Ramsay presented at the Legislature this week.
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