ONTARIO – Domestic violence is on the rise in Canada, and we’re seeing it play out in the GTA. In less than a month, five women were reported to have been murdered by their intimate partner or family member in an act of violence known as femicide.
Chandanpreet Kaur, Veronica Henry, Naheed Askaryar, Elvie-Sig Od, and her daughter Angelica Sig-Od are five of the latest reported victims of this violent crime. In the last year alone, there were 11 reports of women killed by a partner or family member in the GTA.
Femicide in Canada reports that on average a woman or girl in Canada is murdered every other day. The organization also reports that a woman is killed by a male romantic partner once a week. While advocates have long been sounding the alarm about the femicide crisis, statistics show that in the last year alone there was an 84% increase across Ontario.
Recently, the province saw an inquest into a triple femicide in rural Ontario. The inquest focused on the killing of Carol Culleton, Nathalie Warmerdam, and Anastasia Kuzyk who were murdered on September 22, 2022 by a man they all knew. The inquest saw a jury make 86 recommendations to address the crisis, including that the provincial government declares intimate partner violence an epidemic.
Barriers to Escaping Domestic Violence
Canadian women attempting to escape domestic violence are facing additional economic barriers as the cost of living continues to increase. Rising rent prices, soaring inflation, unaffordable childcare, and the fact that a third of Canadian women make less than minimum wage makes escaping domestic abuse nearly impossible for some.
Many people are calling on provincial officials to take action to protect Canadian women.
“Domestic violence is REAL. There are not enough outlets/ help for women to use to get out of these situations and that’s why this happens. Ontario needs to do better,” said one person on Instagram.
Lack of Shelter Space for Domestic Violence Survivors
Online, many are sharing that while violence and women and girls becomes an increasing issue, the shelters and facilities for those fleeing this type of abuse are underfunded and lacking resources.
“I’m a Gender Based Violence Counsellor that works with women and children. The sector is widely underfunded. The shelters for abused women and children usually only have a max of less than 40 beds which is equal to about 5-6 women with 3-4 children each. This causes some women to stay because they have nowhere to go, it is heartbreaking when women call shelters and share their stories and there is no room in any shelter across Canada available,” shared one viewer.
“To address the issue: – I think change needs to happen at a systemic level, we need VAW (Violence against women) shelters that can house 50+ women at least ( most homeless shelters in Toronto have beds for at least 100), more accessible ways other than shelter and family for women to find safe spaces, more funding toward violence against women. Honestly, there are so many changes and I’ve already written a lot,” they continued.
The lack of shelters is also a longstanding issue. In 2014 Statistics Canada reported that on any given night in Canada, 3,491 women and their 2,724 children sleep in shelters because they have nowhere else to go to escape this abuse. Meantime, studies show that about 300 women and children are turned away from shelters every night to due a lack of shelter resources.
Let us know in the comments, what changes or policies do you want to see implemented to address the rise of femicide in Ontario?