When violence hits home
By MINDELLE JACOBS, Edmonton Sun, October 21
While spousal violence has declined over the years, it, nevertheless, constitutes a shocking 15% of all police-reported violent crime in Canada.
Quebec and Alberta are the worst cases, where spousal abuse accounted for 20% and 18% of violent offences in those provinces, respectively, in 2006, Statistics Canada reported recently.
If there is a silver lining here, it is that most spousal violence (61%) involves common, or minor, assaults (although any kind of assault is clearly unacceptable).
Major assaults comprise only 14% of spousal violence, followed closely by uttering threats (11%) and stalking (8%).
Spousal homicides are, thankfully, rare. Still, they represent 17% of all solved killings in Canada. And, in my mind, judges are not always treating domestic-related killings with the seriousness they deserve.
Earlier this month, an Alberta Court of Queen's Bench justice decided that the 10-year minimum sentence for second-degree murder was enough for a man who attacked his estranged wife and stabbed her boyfriend to death in 2004.
He originally received a lighter sentence, after the trial judge accepted his argument that he was provoked into a rage when he found his estranged wife in bed with her boyfriend. His original sentence? Nearly nine years for manslaughter.(...)
Court of Queen's Bench Justice Lawrie Smith ignored the Crown's request for a 20-year sentence before parole eligibility.
While the murder was "brutal and shocking," the killer isn't an ongoing danger to the community, Smith said.
True, he's unlikely to murder anyone else. How many killers go on to kill again? That's not the point.(...)