December 1st, 2015

NDP Women’s Issues critic calls for a halt to reductions to Partner Assault Response program

Ontario NDP Women’s Issues critic Peggy Sattler released an open letter today calling on the Liberal Government to heed warnings from experts and front-line professionals about changes to the Partner Assault Response program (PAR) that are putting women and children at risk. 

“The Premier and her government arbitrarily reduced the length of the Partner Assault Response program from 16 weeks to 12 weeks, a twenty-five percent reduction in contact time with offenders,' said Peggy Sattler, MPP for London West. 'This decision was made without any research into the impact of a shortened program on recidivism and the safety of women and children. Not a single sector stakeholder supported these changes, which were driven purely by the need to contain costs.”

A provincial survey of Violence against Women Coordinating Committees (VAWCC), which represents hundreds of agencies and a cross-section of professionals from the social services, policing and justice sectors, revealed that 85% believe the changes to PAR will have an impact on their communities. Almost 9 out of 10 VAWCCs expressed concern about the impact on program effectiveness (87%) and about putting victim safety at risk (86%). Concerns about the changes were also raised at the government’s own permanent Roundtable on Violence Against Women during its meeting last week at Queen’s Park, yet the government continues to dismiss the concerns.

“This government has displayed a shocking disregard for the voices of respected Violence Against Women community leaders and experts across Ontario who are urging a comprehensive review of the PAR program,’ said Sattler. “I applaud the persistence of the community leaders who are sounding the alarm. Too many women die in situations that could be prevented.”

“Why is this government refusing to listen to experts and front-line agencies across the province, who are urging the government, in the strongest possible terms, to reconsider the changes to PAR funding and program delivery?” asked Sattler.