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Domestic Violence issues need to be considered in Family Court Cases under the Divorce Act - Minister Stephanson's view

Yesterday at the Manitoba Legislature, I had the opportunity to ask the Minister of Justice whether domestic violence issues should be considered in family court cases under the Divorce Act.  My question and her response (from Hansard) are below.   This is an issue which was discussed in an article in the Winnipeg Free Press yesterday.  The article is available at  this link.

Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): On the family court, the Free Press article today says that domestic violence allegations are often not being taken into account before family court orders are made under the federal Divorce Act, when legally and for the protection of children, they often should be considered.
      I'm presuming that the minister would agree that such domestic violence concerns should be taken into account and I'm asking, what will the minister do to make sure that such domestic violence allegations are taken into account under these circumstances?

Mrs. Stefanson: Well, I want to thank the member.
      And I think Manitoba is already kind of at the forefront there and has made some of those changes already to take into consideration some of the things that the member opposite is discussing with–and that are in this article that the member is referring to today.
      But I do want to say and commend our Minister responsible for the Status of Women (Ms. Squires) in what she has done, all the work that she's done in the area of domestic violence. And, you know, it's been extensive. She's worked with many stakeholders within the community. We work together as a team. And we will continue to work together and work with stakeholders and the community groups and organizations who help women primarily but all those of domestic violence as well who go through these tragic situations in their lives. It's very important to us as a government that they get the help that they need, and it's why we have put that kind of help at the forefront. And, again, I want to just commend the Minister responsible for the Status of Women for the work that she has done along with the stakeholders in the community who have really come forward and we have been working with and listening to on this very important file.
      So I thank the member for River Heights for his question.

Mr. Gerrard: I thank the minister for affirming clearly that when there are domestic violence allegations that they need to be taken into account before family court orders are made under the federal Divorce Act, as the article suggests.


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