Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice shares the hon. member's concern and commitment to addressing the serious problem of family violence.
Recent examples of the justice minister's commitment include Bill C-42 which was proclaimed on February 15, 1995 and amended the Criminal Code peace bond provisions to help prevent acts of family violence before they occur. These amendments will allow police and others to apply on behalf of persons at risk of harm for a peace bond. They will also enable the court to specify the conditions that can be imposed as part of the peace bond including, for example, prohibiting the husband from being at or near the family home or from communicating with his wife.
These amendments also make the breach of a peace bond more serious by making it punishable on indictment and liable to imprisonment for a maximum term of two years instead of the previous summary conviction maximum of six months.
Another example is Bill C-41 introduced on June 13, 1994 which proposes sentencing reforms and would make the abuse of a position of trust or authority in the commission of an offence an aggravating factor in sentencing.
On February 14, 1995 the Minister of Justice tabled Bill C-68 which proposes significant reforms to control firearms. We know for instance from the Statistics Canada spousal homicide survey that between 1974 and 1992 a married woman was nine times as likely to be killed by her spouse as by a stranger and that 42 per cent of women killed by their spouses during this period
were killed with guns. These firearms' proposals will provide a clear and effective response to prevent such use of firearms.
The Minister of Justice also acknowledges the importance and value of consulting with Canadians. Public consultations provide the government with invaluable insight into various issues.
A recent example of the value of such consultations is the June 1994 national consultation with women's organizations on violence against women issues which included family violence. This national consultation was co-hosted by the Minister of Justice, the Minister of Health and the Secretary of State for the Status of Women.
These existing efforts to address family violence by the federal government will help to protect women, children and seniors who are the primary victims of family violence. The individual efforts of members such as the hon. member's public forums will clearly contribute to the national capacity to better understand and respond to family violence.