Emerging Issues, In the News

Part 2: Exploring Recommendations from the Culleton, Warmerdam and Kuzyk Inquest

July 25, 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 – we’ve launched a blog series to share the major takeaways from the jury’s 86 recommendations on how to improve Ontario’s response to intimate partner violence (IPV).  

We want to help you understand the results of this historic investigation and how we can hold our public institutions accountable to prevent similar tragedies from happening again. 

Our first blog in the series highlighted the inquest’s call for oversight and accountability. This week, we’re focusing on the group of 11 recommendations that seek increased collaboration and communication across government ministries and agencies involved in situations of IPV. What’s especially encouraging to read from these recommendations is the call for trauma-informed training for those working in the justice system. This novel recommendation could help to increase emotional safety for victims/survivors and allow them a voice and a greater degree of participation in a justice system that has often felt indifferent to their needs.  

The three main calls to action from this group of inquest recommendations are: 

  • Improved Data Collection & Management Practices 

    The jury placed great emphasis on standardizing how information that could aid investigations, criminal proceedings, emergency alerts and media releases is collected and managed. Data on IPV-related charges, firearms records, mandatory formal debriefs and reports on lessons learned would ideally be entered promptly into a “universal” police database which would expedite information sharing and ensure that charges, convictions, and alleged incidents can be tracked even when offenders move between jurisdictions.
  • Expanded Collaboration and Improved Communication 

    The jury called for an all-of-government approach that would see ministries at every level of government working together to seek an end to IPV. The recommendations highlighted the need for sharing information among justice partners across family, civil and criminal systems. The need for timely and improved communication between police and the Chief Firearms Officer, between probation officers and survivors for safety planning, between police and potential targets, and between police and the public was also flagged.  
  • Trauma-Informed Support and Debriefing 

    The jury underscored the importance of trauma-informed training for all justice employees or volunteers who work with victims/survivors and suggested incorporating restorative justice and community-based approaches to ensure the best outcomes possible for victims/survivors. In addition, every municipality is encouraged to integrate IPV supports in their well-being plans, to ensure victims/survivors are well supported whether they live in an urban or rural area. The jury also noted the importance of learning from major incidents through debriefing sessions that review what went well and opportunities for improvement.   

Our next entry in this blog series will focus on the set of inquest recommendations that address funding approaches and recommend investments to curb and better manage 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 – and for updates about the implementation progress of the inquest recommendations. 


Image credit: CTV News Ottawa