First-degree Murder Charge is a Sign that Society Values the Lives of People
Who Have an Intellectual Disability Say Disability Advocates

TORONTO, March 12 /CNW/ - As a Prescott resident is charged with first-degree murder in the killing of his brother, Community Living Ontario commends the Grenville Ontario Provincial Police Crime Unit for its thorough investigation of the senseless abuse Jamie Hawley is alleged to have suffered at the hands of his brother, Jerry Hawley.

Jamie was a man who had an intellectual disability and had, as a child, previously been supported by at least two Community Living associations. Like any human being, he desired to live and belong in the community, and it appears that Jamie placed his trust in his family to support him as he pursued that life.

"Jamie's death is tragic," said Keith Powell, Community Living Ontario's executive director. "As a society, we must find better ways to support and protect people to live safely, but with freedom and dignity in the community. We need better safeguards for people who in some way are vulnerable, but those safeguards shouldn't come at the expense of someone's personal freedoms and choices."

Jamie Hawley's death is just one of a number of similar horrific deaths over the last decade. In 2008, Allison Cox was found guilty of manslaughter, criminal negligence causing death and failing to provide the necessities of life in the death of her adopted sister, Tiffany Pinckney. Mrs. Cox was sentenced to nine years in penitentiary.

"These and other stories go beyond the issue of disability. Each of us becomes vulnerable when we are not connected to personal networks of people who care about and value us as a human being," remarked Powell. He continued, "The larger issue here is about community and people's connections with each other. Unfortunately, people who have an intellectual disability are often more vulnerable and less connected to people than most."

As the Hawley case goes through the court system, Community Living Ontario will monitor the situation and will work to ensure that justice is pursued for Jamie.

Community Living Ontario is a province-wide federation that promotes and facilitates the full participation and inclusion of people who have an intellectual disability. More than 12,000 people are members of Community Living Ontario through membership in 117 affiliated local associations. Community Living provides direct support and services to people who have an intellectual disability, helps communities build the capacity to support people, and advocates for social change toward the full inclusion of all people in community.

SOURCE Community Living Ontario

For further information: For further information: Media Contact: Rozalyn Werner-Arcé, Director, Marketing and Communications, C: (416) 407-4014

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