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Home / Articles / Around the World / Around the World: Canda, Britain and Tribal Lands

Around the World: Canda, Britain and Tribal Lands

A round-up of domestic violence news we should be paying attention to

  • By
  • Jan 27, 2020
Around the World: Canda, Britain and Tribal Lands

Abusers commit domestic violence crimes in all corners of the world. Luckily, there are people dedicated to stopping it in all those corners, too. From the good to the not-so-great, here’s a rundown of some of the domestic violence news stories both here in the U.S. and far away that caught our attention. 

Canadian Provinces Want to Give Survivors Stress-Free Time Off 

British Columbia and the Northwest Territories of Canada are both considering amending their Employment Standards Act to allow for domestic violence leave. Known as Bill 8, the amendment act would allow for up to 10 non-consecutive days of unpaid, job-protected leave for victims of domestic violence. The fear of losing one’s job is oftentimes a barrier for reporting abuse and can prevent victims from seeking medical treatment for abuse-related injuries. 

If passed, these areas would join other provinces in Canada, including Saskatchewan, Ontario, Alberta, New Brunswick and Manitoba, in providing domestic violence leave. At least a dozen states in the U.S. require employers to allow for a “reasonable” amount of leave for domestic violence-related causes. 

Britain Recognizes Financial Abuse as a Crime but Leaves Immigrants in the Cold

Britain’s proposed new domestic violence legislation is earning both cheers and jeers as it recognizes an important aspect of control, but fails to protect everyone. A bill introduced to Parliament last July includes economic control in its definition of domestic abuse for the first time ever, a landmark decision that follows the lead of other countries such as India and South Africa. (In the U.S., legal definitions of domestic violence vary by state, but typically definitions focus only on the “violent” part of the term, aka, physical abuse. While fraud and identity theft are both crimes, they’re not specifically part of domestic violence in the eyes of the courts. Financial exploitation is also illegal, but only in cases of vulnerable or disabled adults.)

However, advocates in Britain criticize the bill for not explicitly protecting immigrant survivors who lack legal status, putting them at risk for deportation should they seek services for domestic violence. The government there would only respond with, “Some victims are best served by returning to their country of origin.” The immigrant conundrum exists here in the U.S. as well

Abusers Escape Punishment on Maine’s Tribal Lands

A legal loophole once excluded Native American tribal courts from prosecuting non-natives for crimes committed on tribal lands. Dangerous criminals, not shockingly, took advantage of this until 2013 when at least some were stopped in their tracks. The reauthorization of the federal Violence Against Women Act allowed tribal courts limited authority to prosecute domestic abusers.

Except in Maine—due to some tricky wording in the 1980 settlement of tribal claims, Maine was excluded from this provision, giving non-native abusers continued free reign to abuse partners on tribal lands. 

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A law to overturn the oversight was passed by the U.S. House in 2019 but failed to make it to the Senate. The Maine Legislature made their own bill to do the same, and this one passed both the Maine House and Senate last June, but Gov. Janet Mills has yet to sign it. The governor says she’s working with the bill’s sponsor and the attorney general to clarify the rights of non-tribal members. Mills told the local paper that she is obligated to thoroughly review all of the bills and “decide whether they are in the best interest of Maine people.”