Emerging Issues, In the News

Part 1: Inquest Recommendations — Accountability

July 12, 2022

Composite image from CTV News Ottawa (Point2 Homes, Genevieve Way, Facebook)

Basil Borutski went on a violent rampage in the Ottawa Valley on September 22, 2015, murdering three women – Carol Culleton, Nathalie Warmerdam and Anastasia Kuzyk. The violence did not come without warning. All the women were former intimate partners of Borutski, and the murders were a culmination of abusive behaviour that had been happening for over 40 years.

He was sentenced to life in prison with no eligibility of parole for 70 years. But real justice calls for changes that would prevent such a tragedy from happening again.

Recently, a coroner’s inquest into the women’s deaths wrapped up, after hearing extensive testimony from victims’ families, their counsel, domestic violence experts and advocates.

The jury made 86 recommendations based on the inquest and it’s important you know about them since part of accountability is awareness, your awareness, and demanding that our public institutions do the right thing to prevent intimate partner violence (IPV).

Over a series of blogs, we’re going to share the jury’s recommendations, highlight examples from other countries, ways to effect the recommendations, and more.

The first set of recommendations addresses the need for oversight and accountability. These initial recommendations recognize the importance of listening to and learning from victims/survivors and emphasize the need to follow-up on implementation.

  • Create a Survivor Advocate position

    Understanding that domestic violence victims’ experiences with police and the justice system can be difficult, the jury recommended having a Survivor Advocate to advocate on behalf of survivors when they interact with the justice system.

  • Establish an independent Intimate Partner Violence Commission

    The jury wants a commission to be established, like the one in UK, that can be a voice for survivors and victims’ families. Local activists agree that an independent commission would help ensure the inquest recommendations are followed through.

  • Engage in meaningful consultation

    By speaking with IPV survivors, victims’ families and experts in the field, these consultations would determine the responsibilities and direction of the IPV Commission and evaluate the effectiveness of existing community supports and prevention strategies, including program funding.

Our next blog will focus on the set of inquest recommendations that speak to the need for government-wide approaches to address IPV and trauma-informed training to better support survivors and work with perpetrators.

Check back with Neighbours, Friends and Families for updates about implementation progress of the 86 inquest recommendations.

Image credit: CTV News Ottawa