Initial Reaction to the Release of the Desmond Fatality Inquiry Final Report

Transition House Association of Nova Scotia’s Initial Reaction to the Release of Desmond Fatality Inquiry Final Report

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia – February 2, 2024: The Transition House Association of Nova Scotia (THANS) welcomes the long-awaited final report of the Desmond Fatality Inquiry, which acknowledges concerns raised by the gender-based violence sector and includes recommendations directed at addressing domestic violence and preventing further tragedies within our province.

In reflecting upon this report, THANS extends heartfelt condolences to the families affected by the tragedy prompting this inquiry. The loss experienced by these families is immeasurable, and we honour their memory as we work towards a future where such tragedies are prevented.

Among the recommendations proposed in the Desmond Fatality Inquiry’s final report is the initiation of a public information campaign by the Province of Nova Scotia concerning intimate partner violence and available support services. The report also recommends the mandatory use of an intimate partner violence risk assessment tool by all police agencies in calls and investigations related to domestic conflicts, irrespective of the existence of a criminal charge.

“While we value the inclusion of these recommendations, we acknowledge that similar recommendations have been presented in other reports, including the recent Mass Casualty Commission Final Report,” stated THANS Provincial Coordinator, Ann de Ste Croix. “What carries even greater significance than the incorporation of these recommendations is the subsequent action taken. The recommendations from this report and others like the MCC must not be neglected.”

THANS asserts that such actions must include representatives from community organizations on committees responsible for overseeing the implementation of the recommendations outlined in the report. Additionally, any action must include substantial and sustainable investments in community organizations providing services and support to survivors and their families. “Achieving transformative change requires an all-of-society approach, with all levels of government collaborating closely with communities,” said de Ste Croix.

THANS also commends the report’s emphasis on the need for enhanced education among front-line service providers in the healthcare, justice, and education systems, as well as the broader public. “Education and training are pivotal in challenging the normalization of violence and in fostering an understanding of the complexities of gender-based violence,” said de Ste Croix. “We hope that these recommendations mark a decisive turning point, making future similar recommendations unnecessary.”

To read the report in its entirety, and to access the list of recommendations, visit: 

Those needing support should call or text the provincial toll-free line at 1-855-225-0220, available 24/7. To find your nearest transition house, visit If you are in an emergency situation, call 911.

Media contact:

Ann de Ste Croix
Provincial Coordinator
Transition House Association of Nova Scotia