Youth mental health a concern as Canada sees pair of alleged deadly domestic disputes

By Adam Ziccarelli

In just over 24 hours, Canada has been shaken by two cases involving alleged domestic disputes that have led to violence.

The first involved parents and their 16-year-old son that ultimately led to the death of two Edmonton police officers.

The second occurred Friday morning in Montreal, involving a 19-year-old man who investigators say repeatedly stabbed three family members. The suspect was arrested.

“The bulk of these cases are men abusing women,” said Kelly Sundberg, a criminologist and associate professor at Mount Royal University.

“A lot of research shows the stress and mental-health challenges younger people are having today. And this can at times present itself in the form of violence.”

According to Sundberg, domestic abuse has escalated in the country since the pandemic, and officers are responding to these calls on a day-to-day basis.

“Police officers in every major centre in this country are responding to domestic violence calls every day,” Sundberg said.

READ MORE: Teenage suspect in officers’ deaths was known to police but did not have criminal record: EPS

Edmonton police announced Friday afternoon that officers were previously dispatched to the same address where the shooting took place on Thursday regarding a scenario related to mental illness.

“One of the previous incidents involving the suspect was categorized as a mental-health complaint,” said Deputy Chief Devin Laforce of the Edmonton Police Service.

Sundberg believes in cases involving people struggling with mental illness, domestic violence can grow and become a greater risk for those at home or in the community.

“When the offenders or accused offenders aren’t able to be convicted for their crimes for whatever reasons, they obviously return to their home or to the community and become an even greater threat,” said Sundberg.

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