The House of Commons justice committee is expected to do a report on Tuesday for proposed legislation that would make coercive and controlling behavior amongst families and intimate partners a punishable crime.
This proposed legislation will assist people facing difficult domestic situations by creating a new crime named “coercive control”. The crime is defined as a behavior from a family member, or current or past partner that makes the victim fear that they will be physically harmed. Ultimately, coercion can lead to a decline in the victim’s mental health as well as increased distress.
Currently, Police lack the power to intervene in coercive situations as coercion is not yet a crime. However, Randall Garrison, the NDP MP from British Columbia recognized a spike of domestic violence due to the COVID-19 pandemic after consulting with multiple police departments. He explains how coercive control can be a strong warning sign for domestic abuse and if police were able to intervene, it can reduce the amount of cases. Garrison proposed this bill last fall but may finally have an impact now.
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