The purpose of this project was to research the conflicts between the family law, child protection, and criminal justice systems in BC, and to highlight the tragedies that can result from such conflict.


Why this project?

Separation is a very vulnerable time for women fleeing violent marriages.  The lack of consistency between the goals and objectives of the family law system (keeping the family together and ensuring the best interests of the children) and the criminal justice system (protecting society from the criminal actions of others and specifically protecting women and children from domestic violence) is a fundamental women’s equality issue.


What we did

In her report “Honouring Christian Lee – No Private Matter: Protecting Children Living With Domestic Violence” the BC Representative for Children and Youth reviewed the deaths of Christian Lee, his mother, and his grandparents at the hands of Christian’s father. We used this case as a catalyst to research the conflicts between the family law, child protection, and criminal justice systems that allow such tragedies to happen.

Our approach was informed by a broad legal analysis and consultation with our partners in the anti-violence sector.

Along with consultations, we conducted a literature review on issues including:

  • Under-use of protective orders and use of restraining orders in custody disputes;
  • The role of violence against women in child protection cases; and
  • Child abuse allegations in custody disputes


Funding for this project provided by: