Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut March 19, 2010 - 12:53 pm

Nunavut mulls housing for domestic scofflaws

GN also considers special court for family violence

NUNATSIAQ NEWS

Nunavummiut who can’t return home due to court orders may soon be able to stay in temporary housing.

Speaking in the committee of the whole on March 16, where MLAs were scrutinizing his budget, Keith Peterson, the minister of justice, said the Government of Nunavut is looking at developing a pool of housing, or billets, for people who can’t legally go home because of a restraining order or some other condition.

“It is a big issue and the reality in Nunavut’s communities, housing is short and we will just have to find a way to overcome that challenge,” Peterson said in response to a question from Johnny Ningeongan, MLA for Nanulik.

Ningeongan had written a letter to Peterson describing problems faced by some people in his community of Coral Harbour who are under restraining orders and cannot go home.

“The concern he raises is a very valid concern. When an individual receives a restraining order, normally, I think the Department of Justice would accommodate them in a local hotel for up to 72 hours, but after that they can’t go home. Where do they go? It’s a challenge that we have to address,” Peterson said.

Another separate project may also see a new court that would deal with the large number of domestic violence charges in the territory and move them more quickly through the judicial system.

The justice department’s 2010-13 business plan said “initial options reviewed by the courts relating to a domestic violence court in Nunavut identified a need to create a “Healthy Relationships Court.”

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