This is part one of a six part series on The Sam Laprade Show discussing femicide.
Sept. 22, 2022 marks seven years of the Wilno murders when three women were killed in three separate locations in the Ottawa Valley by the same man.
Carol Culleton, Anastasia Kuzyk and Nathalie Warmerdam were all murdered on Sept. 22, 2015 by the same man who has been convicted and sentenced to prison.
Erin Lee, the executive director of the Lanark County Interval House, told The Sam Laprade Show on Sept. 22 that the jury into the inquest into the murders, which took place earlier this year, made a series of recommendations to prevent similar killings in the future.
The five-person jury selected for the coroner’s inquest into the deaths of 66-year-old Carol Culleton, 36-year-old Anastasia Kuzyk and 48-year-old Nathalie Warmerdam came up with 86 recommendations.
"They came out with 86 remarkable recommendations that I believe can change our communities," she said.
The number one recommendation put forward is to have the Government of Ontario formally declare intimate partner violence as an epidemic. None of the recommendations coming out of the inquest are binding due to the fact the Ontario government said it was not taking a position on any specific ideas yet because the actual slate of recommendations will require careful study.
"That first recommendation sets the tone for the 85 that follow," she said. "We have to, as a community, as a province and as a country, acknowledge that intimate partner violence is an epidemic."
Other recommendations forwarded by the panel include the establishment of an independent Intimate Partner Violence Commission (IPV) dedicated to eradicating intimate partner violence and the commissioner should have sufficient authority to ensure meaningful access to any person, document or information required to accomplish the commission’s mandate. It also called for stable funding to allow the commission to operate independently.
Among the other 86 recommendations were:
- Creating the role of a survivor advocate to advocate on behalf of survivors regarding their experience in the justice system
- Allowing victims of abuse to testify in court via video.
- Having the province to investigate, and ideally begin making people charged or convicted of IPV wear electronic bracelets. That would alert police if a perpetrator moved to a restricted area near a survivor.
- Probation service to review its mandate in order to prioritize victim safety — including regular contact with survivors — to enforce the law when conditions are breached, and to improve efforts to rehabilitate offenders.
- Ensuring that survivors and those assisting survivors have direct and timely communication with probation officers to assist in safety planning.
- Funding for safe rooms in the homes of survivors of high-risk perpetrators.
- Including psychological abuse, also known as coercive control, in the Criminal Code of Canada.
Lee noted that 27 per cent of women between the ages of 15 and 40 have experienced some form of violence.
With files from Bruce McIntyre.
Listen to the full interview with Erin Lee below: