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Coercive Control

June 17, 2024

Senator Gold, last week, the other place unanimously supported attempts to address coercive control. Today, representatives of 250 feminist organizations are asking us to similarly denounce tactics that attack and label mothers attempting to extricate themselves and their children from controlling and sometimes violent relationships as engaging in parent alienation.

A proliferation of so-called experts have put children at risk of further violence through enabling an alarming practice of abusive fathers systematically accusing mothers who try to protect their children of being alienators. This is especially true when children express a desire to not live with their abusive fathers.

Last April, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls released a report calling on all states, including Canada, to legislate to stop parental alienation accusations.

Senator Gold, does the government agree with this recommendation?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) [ + ]

Thank you for your question and for your advocacy on this issue.

Colleagues, I want to make it clear that coercive and controlling behaviour is manipulative, dangerous and — indeed — puts lives at risk. There’s an epidemic of gender-based violence in Canada, and far more needs to be done to keep women and their families safe.

Having said that, I’m not in a position to comment on the government’s position regarding the UN Special Rapporteur’s recommendation. However, I’ll certainly bring it to the minister’s attention.

Thank you Senator Gold, I appreciate that.

Just as the government worked to protect victims of violence with the 2019 family law reforms, we’re hoping it will hear the call of these organizations and end the harmful and unscientific practice of parent alienation accusations before the next election.

Can I count on you to assist us with that process?

Senator Gold [ + ]

Thank you. I’ll certainly underline this point when I do raise it with the minister.

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