Speakers

Shannon Knight-Jones

TITLE: Keynote Speaker #1 - Survivor Story

Shannon is a survivor of Domestic Violence; both within her 19 year former marriage, and ongoing since escaping it in 2019. Enduring more than 4 years of Post-Separation Abuse, she has gained perspective on the many ways that the Court process is weaponized by perpetrators, enabling them to escalate, and amplify their abuse tactics once victims try to leave the relationship.

Shannon’s experiences have led her to try to help bring about family law reform, through participating in: Survivor Advocacy with the Alberta Council of Women Shelters, and Provincial & Federal Government projects aimed at Family Law systems reform. She submitted a brief to Parliament’s Standing Committee on the Status of Women, helping to inform their report tabled in the House of Commons: Towards a Violence-Free Canada: Addressing and Eliminating Intimate Partner and Family Violence

Through her lived experience she aims to help enhance Court & legal professionals’ understanding of what domestic violence within homes really entails; especially aspects of coercive control abuse which continue to be unacknowledged throughout criminal and family law processes, despite being the best predictor of predictable escalation of Post-Separation Abuse and ongoing risk of harm to the victims. Shannon is raising her 3 daughters, in Calgary, where she continues to work toward healing for each of them, and herself.

While gaining meaningful freedom from her former marriage, and from the resulting legal process, has been elusive, Shannon has found meaning in becoming part of the movement of people working toward transformation of the family law system and exposing domestic violence in all of its forms.

Shay Grundberg

Youth Advocate and Personal Story

TITLE: A Youth’s Perspective

No matter how many times Shay Grundberg got into serious trouble in her teens, many of her workers would tell her she was still a star and would go onto do amazing things. Turns out they were right.

Shay began advocating for herself and her younger brother to be apprehended when she was 13 years old and they were brought into care when she was 14. She has approximately 25 placements, including kinship care, group homes, correctional facilities and she also experienced homelessness during her time in care and in abusive relationships. She has fought very hard to break the cycles of family dysfunction that plagued her childhood.

Shay is a dedicated mother of her own little star, is passionate about improving outcomes for youth in care and is working towards a Bachelor of Social Work. Shay is one of the original members of Youth Speak Out and has done multiple panel presentations. She has spoken at numerous webinars and other gatherings of helping professionals. She is also one of the featured authors in the Youth in Care Chronicles. More recently, Shay became a member of the Office of the Child & Youth Advocate Youth Council. She hopes that her continued passion to have her story and the voices of others heard, will continue to have a positive impact on the future of care.

Dr. Neil Hogan, R.Psych. Director

Director Integrated Threat and Risk Assessment Centre (ITRAC)

Alberta Ministry of Public Safety and Emergency Services

TITLE: Informing Responses to Intimate Partner Violence: ITRAC, Risk Assessment, and Clare’s Law

The Integrated Threat and Risk Assessment Centre (ITRAC) is a joint-forces unit comprised of both civilian and seconded law enforcement professionals who provide formal risk/threat assessment services to various agencies, and prepare domestic violence-related disclosures for the purposes of Clare’s Law. Relying on both research evidence and case examples, this presentation will illustrate how formal risk assessments can improve outcomes in cases of high-frequency and high-severity intimate partner violence, particularly when typical criminal justice system and human-service responses have proven unsuccessful. An introduction to Clare’s Law will also be provided.

Nathan Benron

Crown Prosecutor

Graduated from Queen’s Law School in Kingston, Ontario in 2008. I practiced in Ontario at the Crown’s office in Durham Region until 2012, when I moved back home to Edmonton. In Edmonton, I worked as a defence lawyer at the Youth Criminal Defence Office defending young offenders charged criminally until 2018, when I joined the Crown’s office. Since joining the Crowns office, I have prosecuted mainly domestic violence and child assault files. In 2021, I became a Deputy Chief Prosecutor for the Domestic Violence portfolio.

Jessica Chapman

Staff Lawyer

Jessica Chapman is a settlor who was raised in Treaty 8 Territory and now lives in Treaty 6 Territory.  She attended the University of Alberta, and graduated with Distinction with her Bachelor of Laws degree in 2003.  She was called to the Alberta Bar in 2004 and has practiced in the area of family  law since that time.  Since 2017 she has been a staff lawyer at Legal Aid Alberta.  She is a public director on the board of the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters, the Secretary for the Edmonton Branch of the Legal Education and Action Fund.  She is also a member of her local Lions Club and Rotary Club.  In her spare time, she loves CrossFit, running, reading, cross-stitch, paper crafting and the 90 Day Fiance programming.