FREDERICTON (GNB) – New Brunswick’s Public Prosecution Services has established a new unit dedicated to prosecute criminal offences involving domestic and intimate partner violence.

The new unit was created following a series of recommendations made by an action group formed in 2016 to review how the Crown handles allegations of intimate partner violence.

“The issue of intimate partner violence is of significant concern for everyone who works in the criminal justice system,” said assistant deputy attorney general Luc Labonté. “We wanted to ensure that we were following best practices based upon empirical evidence and international experiences.”

The unit will consist of experienced prosecutors and support staff across the province who will receive enhanced training as well as develop and implement consistent policies and practices.

Ten new Crown prosecutors and four new support staff will be added over a period of three years to backfill the staff assigned to the unit.

“We are delighted that central government has seen the benefit of our proposal,” said Labonté. “The government has made one of its priorities to make New Brunswick the best place to raise a family and this kind of action is an important step in that direction.”

Public Prosecution Services has consulted with academics and experts in the issue of domestic and intimate partner violence in creating the unit. Some of the issues the unit will tackle are ensuring that matters go to trial in a timely manner, that victim`s safety is of paramount concern and that sentencing recommendations for convicted offenders follow empirically based best practices.

The unit is already up and running and Public Prosecution Services has begun the process of hiring the new staff.

Public Prosecution Services are independent in their role and therefore do not act on direction from government in the discharge of their responsibilities.