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GSPS has met Renfrew femicide coroner's inquest recommendations

But intimate partner violence response still needs more work, Sudbury police acknowledge
Greater Sudbury Police Service Det.-Sgt. Lee Rinaldi delivers a presentation on intimate partner violence during this week’s police board meeting. Pictured on the screen are the three victims of a 2015 incident in Port Renfrew in which Nathalie Warmerdam, Anastasia Kuzyk and Carol Culleton were murdered. A resulting inquest yielded 86 recommendations, which Rinaldi said Greater Sudbury Police Service have met.

Although Greater Sudbury Police Service has met the expectations of 86 recommendations in a 2022 intimate partner violence inquest, there’s still work to do.

So described Det.-Sgt. Lee Rinaldi during last week’s police board meeting, at which he presented on how GSPS measured up against recommendations stemming from a coroner’s jury inquest in response to a 2015 triple homicide in Renfrew County.

“I believe that GSPS is currently operating within the framework of these recommendations, and has addressed and met the identified issues that fall within our scope of influence,” he told the board, adding that they’re doing everything they can to prevent a similar such tragedy.

However, he later clarified that strengthening partnerships with other organizations in Greater Sudbury and improving public education will remain key points to develop.

Further, he said that ensuring there are enough emergency shelter beds available and affordable housing in place to accommodate victims of intimate-partner violence will remain an important area for improvement.

“While it’s important for victims of intimate partner violence to have somewhere to go, to have those beds ... what we’re seeing is more long-term stays in temporary shelters,” he said. 

Sustainable long-term affordable housing needs to be available, he explained, “So there’s a transition where they can get back to normalcy of their lives.”

The inquest and its 86 recommendations stem from a 2015 triple-homicide in which Nathalie Warmerdam, Anastasia Kuzyk and Carol Culleton were murdered by Basil Borutski, who died on March 28 at Millhaven Institution in Ontario. He was serving at least a 70-year sentence for first and second-degree murder.

The inquest’s recommendations were released in 2022, and include directions to the province, chief firearms officer, office of the chief coroner, information and privacy commissioner of Ontario and the Government of Canada.

Those recommendations applying to GSPS have been followed, including recommendation No. 1: “Formally declare intimate partner violence as an epidemic.”

Both the City of Greater Sudbury and Greater Sudbury Police Service have made this declaration in recent months, though Rinaldi clarified that it’s more than just words.

During an extensive presentation in which he outlined various GSPS efforts done in concert with other local organizations, Rinaldi established a system in which a “harm-focused human-centred approach” is undertaken to support victims and address offenders.

“Officers will attend in-person to deal with every intimate partner violence situation,” he said, adding that no call will go unanswered or become cancelled, with charges laid in every applicable situation and officers making “every effort to hold offenders accountable and apprehend the suspect.”

This week’s presentation served as a follow-up to another one Rinaldi delivered to the board last month, in which he highlighted some of the educational pieces GSPS is striving to share, including what an unhealthy relationship looks like.

During last month’s presentation, he made note of various manipulative techniques people use to keep their intimate partners in a cycle of control.

Criticism, verbal abuse, sulking, threats, withholding money, isolating, degrading treatment and various means of taking control of their partner’s lives are common tactics, Rinaldi said at the time, adding they’ll criminally harass their partner and “won’t allow that relationship or that power and control to break.”

“What we want to promote along with our partners is recognizing what a healthy relationship looks like, not only within the household, within high schools, the work place .. and recognizes pre-offence behaviour,” he told this week.

GSPS will continue public education, enhancing collaborations and enhancing services, he said, “both for the victims to ensure they have the safeties they need, and on the perpetrator side to ensure we’re doing everything we can to break the cycle of violence before it escalates to an intimate partner violence situation.”

In March, the Emergency Communications Centre dispatched frontline officers to 130 in-progress intimate partner violence incidents where both parties were present, and have recently reconfigured their system to better prioritize calls which have a domestic component.

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for