It's been seven years since three local Ottawa Valley women, 66-year-old Carol Culleton, 36-year-old Anastasia Kuzyk and 48-year-old Nathalie Warmerdam were brutally murdered in 2015 by Basil Borutski, who was later sentenced to life in prison.
A five person jury into the inquest into the murders, which took place earlier this year, came up with 86 recommendations to prevent similar killings in the future.
The number one recommendation put forward is to have the provincial government 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.
The memory of those women was honoured at the Watertower Park in Barry’s Bay on Sept. 22, which marked the day the murders took place with the unveiling of the fifth Ottawa Valley mosaic made of pebbles and this monument will stand as a reminder of that terrible tragedy.
The unveiling of the stone mosaic in Barry’s Bay (the others are in Eganville, Pembroke, Killaloe and Pikwakanagan) was organized by the Women’s Sexual Assault Centre of Renfrew County and a grassroots organization known as End Violence Against Women (EVA).
The ceremony in Barry’s Bay was part of the first-time appearance of the annual 'Take Back The Night' march that is normally held in Eganville, Petawawa and other Ottawa Valley communities in support of murdered and abused women.
"I would love to tell you that the 86 recommendations have been implemented, but it's now October and I don't think a lot of things have happened," said JoAnne Brooks, coordinator with End Violence Against Women Renfrew County on The Sam Laprade Show on Oct. 6
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.
Brooks said the ceremony, which featured 150 people attending, served as a way to educate and converse about gender based violence and violence against women.
Faye Cassita, an advocate with Victim Services Renfrew County, told The Sam Laprade Show on Oct. 6 that she has hope that people will look to hold accountability.
"I believe we will see some changes," she said.
With files from Bruce McIntyre.
Listen to the full interview with Faye Cassita and JoAnne Brooks below: