The concerns of my colleagues are really valid. Safety is important, and I will not sit here and minimize that at all. It is important that women and children continue to be safe, that people continue to be safe.
I'm leaning towards creating more alternatives apart from the regular traditional family court system because of what I'm hearing women say. Some women say they don't want to go through the rigorous family law court system. They say, “This relationship has broken down. There is abuse. I don't want to get into more adversarial situations with my partner. I just want there to be a way for us to resolve child custody issues and child support.”
I look back and statistics show that since the beginning of this year, we've lost over 70 women already to domestic homicide. That breaks my heart. That keeps me awake every night. Therefore, my question is, are we getting everything we want to get within the traditional family court system? How about creating alternatives that women can access?
If some women still want to go to the family court, I am all for that. I want to support their choice. However, if they choose to say, “I want to do something a bit different; I just want to get this out of the way and have a less conflicting way of resolving child custody and support, and all those issues, a way that I feel keeps me a bit safer,” then I also want to support that. The voices of women should be heard, and that is what I bring here in terms of championing that cause.