FREDERICTON (GNB) – The establishment of the regional Atlantic Domestic Homicide Review Network by the Atlantic Canada premiers at their recent meeting will lead to better prevention efforts and enhance the work of New Brunswick’s domestic violence death review committee, according to Service New Brunswick Minister Sherry Wilson, who is also minister responsible for Women’s Equality.

“This is the first regional network to be created in Canada,” said Wilson. “The Atlantic provinces have a uniquely rural identity and we know that rates of domestic homicide for rural/remote populations, and for indigenous populations, have not decreased at a time when most of the country has seen a decrease. Preventative efforts must reflect our unique regional identity.”

Understanding the context in which domestic homicides occur in Atlantic Canada is critical to preventative efforts, said Wilson.

“Having a network will lead to better prevention efforts and better system response to domestic violence,” she said.

New Brunswick has the highest rate of family-related murder suicides in the country, followed by Newfoundland and Labrador. The rate of female domestic homicide victims in Atlantic Canada is higher than the national average.

Wilson said the majority of victims of domestic violence and domestic homicide are women and the majority of perpetrators are men. Reviewing these deaths in the context of domestic violence recognizes that many of these deaths are preventable, and may require different system responses, community supports, and policy and legislative changes. Each province has its own unique systems for how to respond, prevent and learn from deaths when they occur.

The work of the network will include:

  • sharing information across jurisdictions on existing system responses and prevention efforts to learn and identify best practices;
  • establishing a baseline study of trends/current situation in Atlantic Canada;
  • identifying improvements in system responses to the contributing factors to domestic homicide as well as inform the approaches to case reviews within each jurisdiction;
  • promote cross-collaboration between government agencies, as well as provide a focal point for gathering input from non-government agencies and individuals; and
  • promote opportunities to hear from agencies and individuals whose work and lived experiences will provide important context in determining priority areas for intervention to improve service delivery, particularly for vulnerable groups.