Making the Links in Family Violence Cases: Collaboration among the Family, Child Protection and Criminal Justice Systems

Annex 4: Family violence responses by jurisdiction - Newfoundland and Labrador

Legislative Responses

Family/Domestic Violence Legislation

Family Violence Protection Act was proclaimed July 1, 2006. It has a broader definition of violence than the Criminal Code. Conditions available include:

The maximum order is a 90 day order. It is granted ex parte on an emergency basis.

Prosecution is available for breach of an order made under this Act. Conviction can result in incarceration.

Children and Youth Care and Protection Act was proclaimed June 30, 2011. It provides the legislative authority to assess and investigate information that a child is or may be at risk of maltreatment by omission or commission of the parent. While investigation of all referrals of a child in need of protection is the responsibility of the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services, investigations are completed through collaboration with the police, other professionals and community resources.


Domestic Violence Coordinator

Policy and Procedure

Emergency Protection Orders

Family Violence Investigative Report

Family Violence Training



The Guide Book of Policies and Procedures for the Conduct of Criminal Prosecutions in Newfoundland and Labrador addresses how Crown attorneys should respond to cases involving spousal violence. This includes a section on child witnesses in cases of spousal violence. The Guide Book also makes specific reference to child victims under its Victims of Crime section.


The Children and Youth Care and Protection Act is applicable to Crown attorneys and would compel reporting in circumstances outlined in the legislation. Crown attorneys participate in joint training between the police agencies and Child, Youth and Family Services Workers relating to dealing with child victims.

Child Protection


The Department of Child, Youth and Family Services (CYFS) has a Risk Management Decision Making Model (RMDM) (2013) which is a mandatory decision making framework for child protection across the province. Within the RMDM manual, social workers use screening and response prioritization guidelines which provide specific guidance on screening and responding to family violence situations.

The Protection and In Care Policy and Procedures Manual (2011) guides the work of social workers in the delivery of child protection services. This manual includes policy direction for seeking police involvement in child protection matters and direction for social workers when making an application to the court to seek a prohibit contact order.


Memorandum of Understanding on Information Sharing: A coordinated Response In Child Abuse- outlines a process for sharing of information between the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Child, Youth and Family Services and policing agencies on matters relating to the protection of children.

Through the CYFS Training Unit, a three day Introduction to Family Violence training is offered to social workers in collaboration with the RNC and the RCMP. Additional details regarding the training and the topics covered can be found under the Police section above.

Service-Based Responses

Victim Services

This is provided through the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Justice and it is systems based.

The adult program is available to all victims of criminal offences, regardless of the status of the charge. Services include:

Once charges are laid, the full range of services can be provided to children (under 16 years of age) and their caregivers. The program focuses on providing support and preparation to children who have to testify in criminal court. The services are free of charge.


Newfoundland and Labrador has 12 shelters/safe houses. Shelters are operated by non-profit community organizations and are typically open to women and children who have experienced violence or are at risk of experiencing violence. The services are free of charge.

Programs for Children Exposed to Family Violence

Programs, either individual or group, are available to children who have witnessed domestic violence. The group programs are accessible in urban and some rural areas of the province.

Abusive Partner Programs

The Newfoundland and Labrador Corrections branch offers a 10 week Respectful Relationships module delivered by corrections staff for low risk offenders.

Intensive programming for moderate and high risk offenders, through contracted services, are offered in two locations within the province.

Parent & Child Education/Information

Child protection social workers provide support and education to their clients regarding the effects exposure to domestic violence has on children. Social workers may develop a plan with the family to reduce the risk of harm created by the exposure to domestic violence. In these situations information is provided regarding regionally based community services available to parents and their children (i.e. counselling services for victim of violence).

Other Services

Tools/Processes to Ensure Safety

Structured Risk Assessment Tools

The Newfoundland and Labrador Risk Management System Decision-Making Model (RMDM) is an assessment and case management framework used in conjunction with a social worker’s clinical judgment to guide decision making. The tools in RMDM include:

Coordinating Mechanisms

Information Sharing Protocols

There is a Memorandum of Understanding between the Newfoundland and Labrador Child Youth and Family Services and the policing agencies.

Family Violence Action Plans

The Violence Prevention Initiative of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador reflects government’s commitment to addressing the problem of violence in the province. Phase I consisted of a six year, multi-departmental, government - community partnership to find long term solutions to the problem of violence against those most at risk in our society - women, children, youth, older persons, persons with disabilities, Aboriginal women and children and other people who are vulnerable to violence because of their ethnicity, sexual orientation or economic status. The Violence Prevention Initiative is coordinated by the Women's Policy Office. A Social Marketing Campaign was initiated to address youth violence, violence against the older person, child abuse reporting and respecting women. Consultations for Phase II have occurred and the information gathered will shape the initiative’s second phase spanning the years 2013-2018.

Justice Minister’s Committee on Violence Against Women

The Justice Minister’s Committee on Violence against Women was formed in 2005 to enable key stakeholders to regularly meet with the Minister of Justice to share information and perspectives related to issues of violence against women. The purpose of the Committee is to provide a forum for the exchange of meaningful dialogue between government and non-government agencies working in areas affecting violence against women. The Committee forum provides an opportunity for the Minister of Justice to hear any concerns and/or happenings pertaining to violence against women directly from community organizations. It also provides the Minister with a forum for communicating developments and happenings within the Justice system to the community.