Domestic homicides review not in works yet, says Sask. government
Government pressured to call review of why Saskatchewan has such a high rate of domestic homicides
A network of 21 women's shelters and family violence outreach agencies across Saskatchewan has issued the latest call for a formal review of domestic homicides.
In May, a special report by CBC News revealed that Saskatchewan has the highest rate of homicides by intimate partners among Canadian provinces, and yet, unlike other provinces, it has never formally reviewed any killing of that kind.
The coroner's office has also never made recommendations on how to prevent domestic homicides.
In the past year alone, six women have been murdered, all believed to have been killed by their current or former boyfriend or husband,.
The Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services of Saskatchewan (PATHS) has since sent a letter to the Ministry of Justice calling on the provincial government to investigate each death.
While homicides are the worst case scenario, domestic abuse professionals point out there are also many incidents of attempted murder and aggravated assault.
PATHS is a network of transition houses and emergency shelters that serves nearly two thousand women and children a year. It also includes counseling services for perpetrators, both women and men.
Death Review Committee
In its letter to the province, PATHS said Saskatchewan should follow the example of other provinces — Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, and New Brunswick — which have established some kind of Domestic Violence Death Review Committee. Ontario reviews every domestic homicide, about 30 a year,
"It is necessary that law enforcement, the justice system, and domestic violence professionals work together," Dusel said.
In an email to CBC News, a Ministry of Justice spokesperson said it is "reviewing potential options for Saskatchewan." It is looking at domestic violence reviews in other provinces to help determine whether something similar would help in this province.
Victim needs a voice
On Thursday, the family of murder-suicide victim Shirley Parkinson publicly called for a review of every case.
Parkinson was killed by her husband of 27 years, Donald, before he killed himself, on their acreage near Unity, Sask.
"The victim doesn't have a voice," Shirley Parkinson's sister, Mariann Rich, told CBC News. As a nurse, she believes a formal review could examine how the health system could serve victims and perpetrators.
This week, the coroner's office confirmed it is still actively investigating two murder-suicides; one that killed Sharon Ann Kinequon in Melfort in January, the other that left Latasha Gosling and her three children dead in Tisdale in April.
Stewart hasn't decided yet whether to hold inquests into those cases.