Expecting moms need codified protection

Federal Conservative candidate writes victims rights should be central focus of justice system

Editor,

The level of violence that occurs against pregnant women is of great concern. On a global scale, as many as one in four women experience physical and/or sexual abuse during pregnancy. Statistics have shown pregnancy can be a trigger for domestic violence, and that partners of pregnant individuals are more likely to first become abusive towards their partner during pregnancy. The recent tragedy you cited (“Ontario sentencing rekindles preborn debate, Interior News, May 8, 2019, Page A11) is deeply troubling.

Assault in any context is wrong, but there are certain forms of assault which are so atrocious that they warrant extremely severe penalties. We already have specific penalties for assault against minors, peace officers and assaults of a sexual nature in the Criminal Code because as a society we recognize the extremely harmful nature of these offences. Another important factor is that attention to the history of abuse in a relationship needs to be acted upon to prevent further violence (in this specific case there was a clear history of abuse).

I would strongly support exploring the addition of a new category of assault to the Code, assault against a pregnant woman, that should carry a more severe sentence.

[The Conservative Party of Canada] also has a strong track record of working to protect women from violence. In 2015, the Conservative government announced a 10-year, $100 million investment to prevent, detect and combat family violence and child abuse. In 2010, our party also implemented the Protecting Victims from Sex Offenders Act to protect women from repeat violent or sexual offenders.

Conservatives believe the rights of victims should be the central focus of the Canadian justice system, rather than special treatment for criminals. For this reason, we passed more than 30 Justice and Public Safety bills during our time in office, including the Victims Bill of Rights. We put this bill in place because victims of crime and their families deserve to be treated with dignity, compassion and respect, and because it is absolutely vital that victim’s rights be considered throughout the criminal justice system.

Conservatives also understand that a strong criminal justice system must always put the rights of victims and communities before special treatment for perpetrators of violent crime. In contrast, the current Liberal government introduced bill C-75, which decreases sentence time for heinous crimes like Female Genital Mutilation, forced marriage, causing bodily harm to another human being, and infanticide. In doing so, the current government is choosing to put criminals before victims, and thus perpetuate violence. Canada’s Conservatives believe the safety of Canadians should be the number one priority of any government, and that all forms of harassment, sexual violence, and discrimination are unacceptable.

Claire Rattée

CPC candidate for Skeena-Bulkley Valley

Kitimat