Alison Redford, Q.C.
December 30, 2008
Alison Redford, Q.C.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General
Office of the Minister
403 Legislature Building
10800 – 97 Avenue
Dear Minister Redford:
I have recently received a letter that was sent to you by the Family of Men Support Society, and my letter is in support of the issues addressed by their letter.
I support the government’s stand against violence and bullying. However I see a large gap in the distribution of the funding for shelters and other support agencies for victims of violence. The statistics from many reputable sources indicate that the victims of domestic violence are nearly equal between the sexes. Some of these reports even have shown that much of the domestic violence that does occur is cases of reciprocal violence. It is also noted that female on male violence is on the rise, yet all that is portrayed by the media and even some agencies of the government is that domestic violence is a man assaulting a woman. The statistics of spousal homicide is most alarming, since women killing their male partners had nearly doubled from 2005 to 2006, and this was also the 5th year in which males killing their female partners had declined. Yet the funding for women’s groups has increased once again.
Currently there are very limited shelter services for men in the Calgary area, and none in any other jurisdiction. The few groups who do try to help men, are unfunded, or funded only by donations. However there are numerous women’s agencies that are funded by both the Federal government, and the Provincial government. Further to this, I have been informed by a few men who had attempted to get services from the government funded agencies for them and their children leaving an unstable home, but had been turned away. Another alarming problem is that some shelters do not permit teen boys into some shelters. Are there any regulations on these shelters?
Recently another child had been killed in foster care. This young boy had a father who was not permitted to raise his child, and from my understanding this was due to his lack of housing. There are strong arguments that could be made that if this man had been a woman, then he would have benefited by the funding that is provided to the various women’s support agencies, and this child would not have been placed in foster care, nor would he be dead. This is a shame on our society, and a shame on our government for failing this father and his child. I am sure that there are many other men who would like to look after their children, but due to a lack of money and support, are not able to do so.
There is a stigma that men must earn money to support their families, and women are the only people who are able to look after children. This is proven day in and day out in the Family Law Courts throughout this country. Men are regularly removed from their children, and many times based on a lie about domestic violence brought forward by their former partner. There is no requirement for proof of violence other than the woman claiming she is scared. I have been informed that many of the women’s shelters provide information to women on how to make claims of abuse when no abuse is present. What then regularly happens is a restraining order is placed on the man, and he can’t see his children, or only with supervision. Once this happens, the status quo is in effect, and it is a very long and expensive road that he must follow to get any time back with his children. In a free and democratic society, how is it possible to have the statistics of 95% of debtors enrolled in MEP being men?
The issues addressed by the Family of Men Support Society deal with a subject, which seems to have been ignored by the government. I would like to know if your office and the government will be open to working with Men’s advocacy groups, with the intention of bring some equality into the funding of programs, and a change in some of the laws which affect Family Law?
I would like to thank you for your time and consideration of the issues addressed by men such as Mr. Allan Buteau, Mr. Earl Silverman, and the many other men’s advocacy groups.
cc: Allan Buteau