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Family law: New tool will enable courts to help women in danger

Victims of domestic violence may get some relief, thanks to a new project on the horizon. Many women who decide to separate from their partners may find themselves in dire straits and potentially dangerous situations. As much as Ontario family law rules try to protect victims of domestic violence, added programs and education is always needed. Giving family law professionals the tools to help these victims is a step in the right direction.

A Toronto clinic for women facing violence is working on a new risk assessment tool that would allow family court staff to determine how much danger women are in to be able to help them quickly. The project has received funding from the Law Foundation of Ontario. The gist is to accommodate law professionals with standardized questionnaires, which would allow them to make assessments of individual situations and then provide resources to help victimized women and their children.

Statistics show this kind of tool is sorely lacking. More than 65 per cent of Ontario domestic homicides involved separated or soon-to-be separated couples. That data was retrieved from Ontario's chief coroner between 2003 and 2016. It has been shown that children can be in danger as well when family courts don't properly screen a situation for domestic violence.

A compassionate Ontario family law lawyer may be one of the first people a domestic violence victim turns to for help and guidance. Having this kind of tool will enable a lawyer to further help his or her clients who are in abusive circumstances. A lawyer will always have the best interests of his or her clients and their children at the forefront of any advice he or she gives.

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