Canada’s Criminal Justice System plays a critical role in ensuring the overall safety, wellbeing and productivity of Canadians. When we have confidence in our justice system, we feel safe in our communities and our quality of life improves, as well as our contribution to Canada’s prosperity.
Evidence-based research shows the direct link between animal violence and human violence . Cases of partner violence, gang violence, youth crime, organized crime, assault, homicide, sexual abuse and child abuse, weapons and illicit drugs also commonly involve animal abuse. This pattern is known as the Violence Link.
These are just some of the ways in which animal health and human health are interconnected.
Cruelty to animals, the use of animals to victimize vulnerable persons, and the humane treatment of animals in human care are therefore important aspects of the criminal justice system and the laws that underpin it.
Criminal justice stakeholders such as law enforcement, victim services, social services, the judiciary, and animal care professionals must be trained on the Violence Link. Evidence points to the benefit of a collaborative, hollistic approach in order to provide both outcomes for people and animals. Similarly, Canada’s prosecution community needs to be trained on the effective prosecution of animal abuse cases and the Violence Link.
Unfortunately, Canada’s criminal justice system and laws do not adequately recognize or account for animal welfare and the Violence Link, nor is there sufficient awareness, training and resources available for stakeholders.
In order to address these issues, Humane Canada™ has launched the groundbreaking Criminal Justice System Reform Program. This Program integrates:
- the National Centre for the Prosecution of Animal Cruelty (NCPAC);
- the Canadian Violence Link Coalition (CVLC);
- legislative and policy changes needed to support the goals of the NCPAC and CVLC;
- and the ACT (Awareness, Collaboration, Tools) Project for Women with Animals Experiencing Gender-Based Violence.
Interdisciplinary collaboration is at the forefront of the Criminal Justice System Reform Program.
Humane Canada™ engages and works with key actors in the criminal justice system to raise awareness, encourage collaboration and support legislative and policy amendments that bring about lasting and systemic change. The result is an accessible, efficient and fair system of justice which supports victims, keeps families together, and reduces the vulnerability of animals and humans by acting holistically.
To find out more about the National Centre for the Prosecution of Animal Cruelty and to sign up to the NCPAC newsletter, click here.
To find out more about the Canadian Violence Link Coalition and to sign up to the CVLC newsletter, click here.
The Criminal Justice System Reform Program is lead by a dedicated member of Humane Canada™ staff, Hannah Brown . If you are interested in learning more about the Criminal Justice System Reform Program, please contact the Program Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org