Peace Bonds and Violence Against Women: A Three-Site Study of the Effect of Bill C-42 on Process, Application and Enforcement

6. Limitations

Limitations to the research design employed in this project are twofold and inter-related. First, it may be argued that to undertake a research project examining the effect of legislation geared to making women safer in violent relationships without speaking to women who go through the process is problematic. This is true not only from a socio-political perspective but also from a methodological one (the two in any case are inextricably linked).

Second, a reliance on official records surely underestimates the number of actual violations of recognizances (breaches) because not all offences would be reported, or if reported, may not necessarily result in police action. This is a standard limitation of research that uses official police or court statistics rather than victimisation reports.

The response to these critiques relate to weighing the negative effect of interviewing peace bond applicants relative to the importance of the current research and outlining design, logistical, and time constraints.

In any case, notwithstanding these two notable limitations, we proceed herein keeping in mind the absolute paucity of knowledge on peace bonds in Canada and the fact that in this case the project’s central object of analysis is the criminal justice system and those who staff it.