Emerging Issues, In the News

Part 4: Inquest Recommendations — Education

August 30, 2022

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

Following the June 2022 coroner’s inquest into the 2015 murders of three Canadian women – Nathalie Warmerdam, Anastasia Kuzyk and Carol Culleton – 86 recommendations were made on how to improve Ontario’s response to intimate partner violence (IPV).

A key element of IPV prevention and incidence management is continuing education and training – for the public and for professionals who work frontline with these kinds of cases.

Our first three blogs have broken down the inquest’s recommendations on accountability, how agencies can collaborate, and funding. In today’s installment, we highlight the jury’s education and training priorities to eliminate IPV and better manage incidents:

Target the Education of the Public, Students, Police and Justice Personnel
The jury recommended that the government invest in a new approach to public education to raise awareness of IPV.

  • Multilingual resources in various formats should be designed to reach wider audiences, especially in rural communities.
  • Police and other justice system personnel should receive enhanced IPV training, with a goal to develop an IPV specialist in each police detachment.
  • Students from primary all the way to post-secondary school should receive age-appropriate education programs, and teachers should be trained and provided with resources to deliver the programs.
A robust audit process would assess the effectiveness of these public education programs and ensure training is completed.

Assessment and Continuous Improvement of Training and Resources
Many of the jury’s recommendations emphasized continuous evaluation and responsive improvement of ongoing initiatives. For instance, the government should conduct an annual public opinion poll to gauge attitudes and use that information, along with input from experts, to improve public education materials. Professional education and training for justice system personnel should be reviewed and annual refresher courses offered on a broad range of related IPV issues.

Education and Training Content
IPV educational content should be customized to specific audiences. Public education should address how to recognize warning signs and risk factors, how to seek support, and community and bystander engagement. Healthy and abusive relationships, indicators of coercive control, and the need for safety planning are among the topics recommended for teacher and student programs. Training for justice system personnel would cover a long list of issues, including crisis management training, trauma-informed practices, and firearm risks. Importantly, all types of training should acknowledge the unique factors and responses to IPV in rural communities.

Our next blog will address the proposed measures for perpetrators of IPV in Canada.

Keep an eye on the NFF blog or follow us on Facebook and Twitter to hear first when we post updates on this series. 

Image credit: CTV News Ottawa