Jared’s Place: Turning tragedy into advocacy Because both community and legal systems failed, a horrendous tragedy occurred
When I read Susan Clairmont’s article, A Family’s Cruelty, The Hamilton Spectator (Monday, June 19) it broke my heart again, even though I know Jared’s story well and have met with Julie Craven many times over the years. Jared would have been 20 years old this year, and his mother lives daily with the pain of his terrible untimely death at the hands of his father 12 years ago. Because both community and legal systems failed, a horrendous tragedy occurred and Jared was killed.
Through her devastating and unfathomable grief Julie Craven has advocated consistently for change so that her son’s death would not be in vain. The first step was to ensure there was an inquest into Jared’s death, so that we could all understand what systems failed, leading to Jared being in an unsupervised court ordered access visit even though his father had been convicted of violent crimes.
The inquest into Jared’s death resulted in ‘Kevin and Jared’s Law’, which requires a coroner’s inquest whenever a child is killed in Ontario by the criminal act of a parent. Julie Craven received the Attorney General’s Victim Services Award of Distinction in recognition of her advocacy for this, but there was more to be done. She wanted her son’s sacrifice to potentially save the lives of other children.
Julie carried out her mission, in the name of her son all while being tormented time and time again as written and briefly described by Susan Clairmont (see above).
Interval House of Hamilton (IHOH) supports women with or without children who are experiencing abuse or violence. In 2010 IHOH opened Jared’s Place, a program operated out of the IHOH Women’s Center in downtown Hamilton. Jared’s Place is named in honour of Julie Craven’s son, Jared Osidacz. The purpose of Jared’s Place is to provide legal advocacy that supports system navigation and resources with regards to Family, Criminal, Immigration, and Civil Law, providing safety planning, information and advocacy for women to support their safety as they make decisions that enhance the safety for themselves and their children.
As reported by CBC News, each year in Canada, approximately 30 children are killed by a parental figure. There is a 60/40 ratio in terms of fathers killing children compared to mothers. With women, it tends to be related to very young children and there are underlying mental-health issues such as postpartum depression.
With men, the context is usually domestic violence, and an act of revenge and devastating retaliation against a partner who has left the relationship. (Peter Jaffe, Faculty of Education, University of Western Ontario, CBC, October 26, 2015).
If I were to put Julie Craven’s message in a nutshell, it would be this: when a mother comes to you for help and tells you about her fears for herself and/or her child, please, please believe her, and help her protect herself and her child from harm.
It is up to all of us to ensure that community and legal resources are in place for a woman and her children when and if she should need them. As a society, it is our joint responsibility to ensure that she or her child do not become another statistic!
All Interval House of Hamilton programs for women and their children are offered at no cost. Without ongoing community support, we could not continue to assist some 170 women and their children who stay in our shelter on a yearly basis, the more than 480 women who receive IHOH counselling services each year, or the more than thousands of crisis calls we respond to every year.
Interval House of Hamilton is a 22-bed emergency shelter for women and their children located on the west mountain. IHOH runs counselling and support programs: in Waterdown at the Flamborough Women’s Centre, and in downtown Hamilton at the centre of our city’s urban core.
Jared’s Place receives no government funding and relies on donations and fundraising efforts to keep its doors open. We will do everything we can to ensure women receive quality and responsive service at Jared’s Place. We are honoured to have our legal advocate program named after Julie’s son.
For further information about Interval House of Hamilton, the Hamilton Women’s Centre or Jared’s Place, please visit intervalhousehamilton.org or call 905-387-9959.
When a mother comes to you for help and tells you about her fears for herself and/or her child, please, please believe her.
Jared Osidacz at age 8. He was murdered by his dad, Andrew Osidacz who was then shot and killed by police.