ALBERTA

Colleen Sillito-Kruger's Family Meets Alberta Ministers To Discuss Violence Against Women

10/15/2015 02:02 EDT | Updated 10/15/2015 02:59 EDT
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EDMONTON — The family of an Alberta mother of five who was murdered by a former partner says the government is sympathetic to its call for a public inquiry into her death.

Colleen Sillito-Kruger, 46, was found fatally shot Oct. 2 on her driveway in Fort Saskatchewan, northeast of Edmonton.

Her family said she was a victim of escalating threats and violence and had obtained a peace bond from the RCMP that was violated many times.

Joyce Sillito met Wednesday with Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley to talk about her daughter's death and violence against women in general.

"We were encouraged. We felt they were right on board with us,'' Sillito said of the meeting.

Shannon Phillips, minister responsible for the status of women, also attended.

Sillito said her family was advised to write a letter to the chief medical examiner's office to request a fatality inquiry.

Such inquiries are not automatic. They do not assign blame but make recommendations to prevent future deaths.

Sillito said Phillips appears determined to improve how the provincial government works to prevent domestic violence.

"She really wants to see processes reviewed and things in place that will improve the well-being of women in the province,'' she said. "That is the impression we had.''

Ganley said the government needs to look at what it can do better, including reviewing deaths in the context of systemic violence against women.

She said the government has not made a decision on whether fatality inquiries should be automatic in such cases.

"This was a really tragic circumstance and it certainly indicates a need for government to perhaps review some of its processes, especially in light of the statistics in Alberta on these sorts of incidents,'' Ganley said.

"I think the big takeaway message from this is that this was a person in need of protection and unfortunately we did not do an enormously good job of that.''

RCMP have said Sillito-Kruger was killed in a murder-suicide by Paul Jacob, 54, whose body was also found on the driveway.

Police said members of Sillito-Kruger's immediate family were in the house during the murder-suicide, but were unharmed. Mounties have not confirmed if they were her children.

Joyce Sillito said the family is determined to keep pushing for a broad-based inquiry as they struggle to cope in the aftermath of her daughter's death.

"Our main focus will be on helping the children,'' she said.

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