Issue No. 20 - Responding to Family Violence in Family Court: Challenges & Recommendations

March 2023

Research has shown that increased levels of awareness and education are needed to assist legal, social, and health service providers in the detection, assessment, and response to family violence. The special consideration that family violence warrants in family law proceedings has received both legislative and judicial notice in recent years, with changes to the Divorce Act in March 2021 and several subsequent court decisions, including three from the Supreme Court of Canada.1 These amendments included an expanded definition of family violence, detailed criteria for making a decision in the best interests of a child, and several key factors for courts to consider when adjudicating cases of family or intimate partner violence (Nonomura et al, 2021). These changes have been welcomed by family law practitioners for the guidance and consistency in the approach that they offer courts in understanding the scope of family violence and assessing how much evidentiary weight it should have on the proceedings (Martinson & Jackson, 2021).

Please, see the brief below for more information.

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