Attacks Spark Call For Tougher Laws On Domestic Abuse

Attacks spark call for tougher laws on domestic abuse
The Globe and Mail

VANCOUVER — After violent attacks on three women from the Indo-Canadian community, Surrey MP Nina Grewal yesterday urged tougher laws in order to save more lives in the future.

Laws such as minimum mandatory sentences are needed to help women in domestic-abuse situations, said Ms. Grewal, Conservative MP for Fleetwood-Port Kells.

“We need tougher laws so criminals don't dare do anything. This should not be happening, and there should be zero tolerance.”

She said that as a woman from an ethnic background, she understands why some women shy away from confronting the issue and asking for help.

“I know that new immigrants, when they come to a new community, they face challenges,” she said. “It is a big problem, and women shy away from talking because they don't want to give the family a bad name. 'If I tell the police or anyone in authority, my husband or in-laws won't like it.' ”

A domestic-violence forum is being held in Surrey tonight with hundreds of people expected to attend, said Ashiana Khan, the business manager of Radio India, which is sponsoring the event.

The forum was prompted by last Sunday's death of Navreet Waraich, a young Surrey mother of a four-month-old son. Her husband, Jatinder Waraich, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.

A week before that, Coquitlam nurse Gurjeet Kaur Ghuman was shot in the head while she was in the car with her estranged husband, Parmajit Ghuman, who then fatally shot himself.

Ms. Ghuman, 40, remains in critical condition in hospital, Constable Dave Babineau of Coquitlam RCMP said yesterday.

The recent alleged domestic abuse of Ms. Waraich, 27, and Ms. Ghuman, were compounded with a third violent death, that of Surrey teacher Manjit Panghali, 30, a pregnant mother of a three-year-old daughter. Ms. Panghali's burned body was found Oct. 23 in Delta.

Ninu Kang, director of family programs for Mosaic, an immigrant service agency, said violence against women is not a new thing.

“These tragedies have been in our faces for a long, long time. The magnitude and the closeness of the events have created another and new level of emotion among the South Asian community,” she said. “We know these type of deaths are occurring throughout Canadian society and the closer to home it is, the more people's feelings are touched by these tragedies.”

Ms. Kang said she is hopeful the South Asian community is at a stage in its settlement and integration in Canada that there will be more resources available to deal with domestic violence.