Violence against children shouldn't legally be the same offence as violence against adults
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In October 2010, my 3 year old son Matthew Peter-Paul Tucker died during a visit at his father's home in Nova Scotia, Canada. In May 2011 his father was arrested for second-degree murder and after accepting a deal he plead down to manslaughter in January 2012. In May 2016 he received parole - only 5 years after being arrested (less than 4 1/2 years after sentencing). His father openly admits to killing our son without going into details of the more than 30 traumas all over his head and body including; a spiral fracture to his leg (caused only by manually twisting - not falling or tripping) and a fatal blow to his pancreas.
Completely confused and hurt by how little jail time was served for the brutal life taking of our baby, my family and I decided to look into this injustice. During my research I found that there were several other Canadian cases similar to Matthew's (average 30 per year) and that many people were crying out for better justice.
I decided to read thru the Canadian Criminal Code and discovered that all violent crimes (offences) are generic, categorizing adult and child victims under the same offence. This means that things like assault, murder, manslaughter and other violent crimes all result in the same charge whether or not the victim is a child or an adult. There are some aggravating factors (things for a judge to consider during sentencing) that mention the age of the victim and breach of trust, but neither suggest specific penalties and are considerations only.
I went on to discover that countries such as England, Australia and the USA all have specific offences for violence against children and much harsher penalties in place.
The Canadian Criminal Code does categorize adult and child victims under separate offences in all other types of crimes such as sexual offences and kidnapping.
I believe there is a loop hole in our system that is providing a huge injustice for our Canadian children. I find it hard to believe that our country, which I know to be of peace and fairness compared to others, could still have laws that allow innocent children to be murdered and their slayers to walk free after 5 years. In some of the other cases I found it to be as little as 1 or 2 years!
A child cannot protect themselves against an adult. An adult bar-fighting another adult shouldn't be considered the same offence as an adult fist-fighting a child - aggravating factors or not!
My son's case is closed and we understand that nothing more will be done about justice for his death - but we can still use his story (and others) to help bring justice to other Canadian children and to work to prevent child violence all together!
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