New Democratic Party
Ms. Dawn Black (New Westminster-Burnaby):
Mr. Speaker, the Government's family violence initiatives amount to only $10 per battered woman per year. This is not enough to educate society on the seriousness of wife assault.
Recently, a man was sentenced to 90 days, his sentence to be served on weekends, for beating his wife with a baseball bat. She spent one month in a coma.
Sometimes judges may think they are preserving the family unit by handing down lenient sentences, but the family unit is already destroyed by violence. There are not enough programs for men who batter.
Sometimes judges may think lenient sentences are appropriate because the batterer is the breadwinner, but it is dangerous for women and children to be financially dependent on a batterer. Some 40 per cent of all homicides in this country involve domestic violence. Women need economic equality, not dependence on abusers.
The Government has shown itself incompetent in dealing with the problems of family abuse. How many women must lie unconscious or die before we see government action?
Subtopic: INITIATIVES OF GOVERNMENT