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

Annex 4: Family violence responses by jurisdiction - New Brunswick

Legislative Responses

New Brunswick has a Unified Family Court system with divorce matters and provincial family law matters including child and adult protection, heard at the same superior court level, the Court of Queen’s Bench. The Family Services Act governs family relations from adoption to child protection, adult protection, spousal and child support to custody and access. Remedies related to family violence included in the Act:

Emergency Process:

Child Protection Provisions for family violence include:



Municipal Police - Nine municipal forces serve thirteen regions.

Operational Policy on Assaults – Woman Abuse, includes:

Operational Policy on Victim/Witness Assistance, includes:


New Brunswick Woman Abuse Protocols (2004) (which is under review), includes:

Child Victims of Abuse and Neglect Protocols (2005)

Police Based Risk Assessments for Domestic Violence New Brunswick Protocol (DRAFT)



Attorney General Supplemental Policy Spousal/Partner Violence

Definition of Spousal/Partner Violence is any and all forms of violence or abusive behaviour between persons who are or who have been involved in a personal relationship. “Personal relationship” is defined as a relationship between persons who are or who have been legally married, living together, and/or dating and includes, but is not limited to, sexual assault, physical assault or the threat thereof, intimidation, criminal harassment, and damage to property or the threat thereof. It is prosecuted in accordance with the Attorney General’s usual charge screening standard, that a charge should be recommended where there is a reasonable prospect of conviction and that it is in the public interest to prosecute. This standard test is set out in the Public Prosecution Services Operational Manual accessible online through the Province of New Brunswick website.


Woman Abuse Protocols (which is under review) sections 6.1-6.2, includes:

Protocols for The Use of Testimonial Aids for Vulnerable Witnesses (this references the sections of the Criminal Code that allow for judicial discretion if necessary to protect victims from the accused based on the relationship) (2006)

Child Victims of Abuse Protocols (2005) – see above under Police.

Child Protection


The Department of Social Development has a Multiple Response Practice Standards in Child Protection and Family Enhancement Services (2011), a mandatory accountability framework for child welfare across the province.

The Department of Social Development relies upon the Structured Decision Making Model, an electronic intake assessment tool with specific questions on intimate partner violence/domestic violence and its impact upon the child. If a case is screened out as child protection and there are Domestic Violence indicators, the Department of Social Development staff are directed to refer to the Woman Abuse Protocols for referrals and safety planning.

The Department of Social Development, Family Group Conference Practice Standards (Collaborative Decision Making process in child welfare) sets out policy considerations for safety including when working with victims of Domestic Violence.


Child Victims of Abuse Protocols (2005), includes:

Operational Protocols established between the New Brunswick Department of Social Development (Child welfare authority) and the First Nation’s Child and Family Services Agencies, child protection services.

Service-Based Responses

Victim Services

Victim Services (New Brunswick Department of Public Safety) are court based service for victims of crime. They provide information on the criminal justice system and court process; referrals for counselling; court preparation and support; information about financial supports and remedies; assistance with victim impact statements and give information on sentencing outcome if accused is convicted or notification of offender’s release if the offender is incarcerated.

Fredericton Sexual Assault Crisis Centre (FSACC) is a community-based agency serving Fredericton region. Services in the remainder of the province are being enhanced. FSACC partners with the Women’s Equality Branch to implement and monitor a network of community based sexual assault services across the province.

Victim Services – Municipal police (Fredericton and Saint John districts) are police-based services with the staff and volunteers. They provide support for victims of crime, including domestic violence calls.


Programs for Children Exposed to Family Violence

“Moving Forward” Program

Abusive Partner Programs

Provincial Court-Moncton Domestic Violence has a coordinated programming for drug and alcohol addiction, mental health services and domestic violence intervention.

Department of Public Safety-Community and Correctional Services – Criminogenic Rehabilitation and Reintegration Support Programs for perpetrators of domestic violence (anger management, partner abuse treatment, sex offender treatment).

John Howard Society of New Brunswick – provides Narrative Therapy programs for abusive partners offered in some parts of the province.

Supervised Access

The Department of Social Development, the provincial child welfare authority, may provide supervised access for parents of children under their care, custody or supervision.

For the Sake of the Children is a free information program for separated parents designed to help them understand the legal and emotional repercussions of a separation and to cope with the separation so that they may help their children adjust. The free 6-hour program is presented to participants in two 3-hour sessions (Part A and Part B). Content includes sensitivity and considerations for high conflict circumstances such as family violence.

Child Education/Information

‘Moving Forward’ see above under Programs for children Exposed to Family Violence.

Child Support Workers are on staff at transition houses and second stage housing and provide:

Other Services

The Executive Council Office, Women’s Equality Branch funds 14 Outreach Programs across the province. The goal of outreach is to ensure women living in or leaving abusive relationships have access to someone who can respond to their crisis and support them. Outreach workers provide information, risk assessment, safety planning, accompaniment, referrals and spaces where it is safe to meet with women. The program is an important resource for family violence services, and guides victims to the services they need.

Court-Based Responses

Domestic Violence Court

The Moncton Domestic Violence court deals with charges arising from criminal incidents between current and former intimate partners, including married, common-law, and never-cohabited (i.e. dating). The Moncton jurisdiction includes the counties of Kent, Westmorland and Albert. Goals of the Domestic Violence Court are to: promote offender accountability and early intervention that may help stop the cycle of violence; accelerate prosecution and the court processes; and offer timely access to services for both victims and offenders. Key components of the specialized court are: partnership and collaboration amongst police, Crown, probation and victim services, and community-based service providers to ensure consistent and timely response to incidents and the needs of victims and offenders; a Court Coordinator; Regular and frequent post-disposition monitoring of offenders, to ensure follow through on sentencing conditions. A specialized risk assessment tool in use by all stakeholders, more intensive monitoring and follow-up of cases following sentencing are central features of this court.

Elsipogtog Healing to Wellness Court

Is a pilot project which incorporates First Nations practices and culture, and deals not only with crime, but its underlying causes. Domestic violence related offences which do not involve serious bodily harm and do not carry minimum mandatory sentences can be considered for eligibility into the program, subject to the discretion of the Crown prosecutor and Healing Team. The Healing to Wellness Court has two streams: a Healing to Wellness stream and a conventional Provincial Court stream. The Healing to Wellness stream is a judicially supervised therapeutic program aimed at providing treatment and support for accused persons living with an addiction to alcohol or drugs, mental health problems, and/or an intellectual disability including Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

Linking between Civil and Criminal Justice Systems in Domestic Violence Cases

Tools/Processes to Ensure Safety

Structured Risk Assessment Tools

Various tools are in use within New Brunswick. Police have received training in the Brief Spousal Assault Form for Evaluating Risk (B-SAFER) tool for structured domestic violence risk assessment and they are expected to share the results with criminal justice colleagues such as the Crown prosecutor.

Department of Public Safety, provincial Victim Service Coordinators are required to use the Aid to Safety Assessment and Planning (ASAP) and the Danger Assessment tool. Probation Services rely upon the Spousal Abuse Risk Assessment (SARA), the Ontario Domestic Assault Risk Assessment (ODARA) and when appropriate, the Level of Service Case management Inventory (LS-CMI). Provincial Correctional Institution staff use the LS-CMI for the “continuum of service” between community corrections and institutions, and for classification purposes. At the Provincial Court-Domestic Violence, Moncton the B-Safer risk assessment tool is used for bail hearings and at times, to assist with conditions of release. One of the key features of this specialized court is the use of a common risk assessment tool, B-SAFER, among key stakeholders. Community outreach workers, transition houses and second stage housing are encouraged to use the Aid to Safety Assessment and Planning (ASAP) tool and the Danger Assessment tool.

The Department of Social Development (SDM), the child protection authority, relies upon a Structured Decision Making tool (an electronic case information and assessment framework). Domestic violence risk assessment and safety planning are integrated into the SDM model which was adapted from the Wisconsin Children’s Research Center.

Screening for Family Violence

Coordinating Mechanisms

Information Sharing Protocols

Inter-Agency Protocols

Coordinating Committees

Family Violence Action Plans

New Initiatives (Non-Justice)

Existing Initiatives

Key Reports