Toronto Sun

Thursday, January 17, 2002

Jurors given tragic replay

Abused women are still at risk: Expert

By SARAH GREEN, Toronto Sun

Jury recommendations from a coroner's inquest nearly four years ago must be acted upon to prevent the deaths of more abused women, another inquest heard yesterday.

Eileen Morrow, coordinator of the Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Housing (OAITH), said some of the 213 recommendations from the 1998 inquest into the murder-suicide of former lovers Arlene May and Randy Iles have not been implemented.

"I'm discouraged and disheartened that some of the recommendations of May-Iles have not been put in place," Morrow said.

"We are now moving into four years since the release of the report. We want these recommendations implemented. We want to see these changes occuring for women," she said.

OAITH -- representing 66 Ontario shelters -- has standing at the ongoing inquest into the June 2000 murder-suicide of Gillian Hadley and her estranged husband Ralph, who was under court order to stay away from his wife.

OAITH also had standing at the four-month inquest into the March 1996 deaths of May and Iles, who was out on bail on charges of terrorizing his ex-girlfriend when he shot her at her Collingwood home.

Morrow said there has been progress since the May-Iles inquest including an Ontario government announcement of 300 new shelter beds and the province-wide expansion of a women's help line.

But Morrow said there has been no review of funding for women's shelters -- cut by 5% in 1995 -- and the police use of a tool to assess risk in domestic violence cases is inconsistent.

"It very much feels like I've been here before," Morrow said.

Morrow said the Hadley jury must make recommendations beyond the criminal justice system, including new money for social housing, as well as women's shelters and support programs.

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