92. That’s the staggering number of femicides—that we know of—reported in this country by the Canadian Femicide Observatory between January and June 2021;the equivalent of one femicide every two days. The majority (52%) were committed by an intimate partner (37%) or family member (15%). Of note, Indigenous women continue to be overrepresented in total numbers, making up 12% of all femicides. In comparison, from January to June 2020, 78 femicides occurred in Canada; this year’s number totals a worrisome 18% increase from 2020.
Federal Parties Need to Address Violence Against Women
We are now officially in a federal election period, and Shelter Movers Ottawa urges all political parties to seriously tackle violence against women (VAW) in their electoral platforms. Far from being the “great equalizer”, COVID-19 has exacerbated a number of social inequities, including domestic violence. Across the country, women, children and the 2SLGBTQIA+ community face heightened violence; many are unsafe in their own homes. The pandemic has increased calls to women’s helplines and police responses to intimate partner violence. Social isolation makes it harder for victims to seek help, and easier for abusers to be violent. Here in Ottawa, we haven’t forgotten about the femicide of Hanadi Mohammed earlier this year.
Branded as the “shadow pandemic”, violence against women has skyrocketed globally. To address the issue here in Canada, meaningful funding must be dedicated to supporting women, girls and the 2SLGBTQIA+ community—we’re talking billions, not millions.
The National Action Plan on Violence Against Women and Girls can no longer be delayed. The recommendations from the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls must be led and implemented in an Indigenous centred way. When creating these policies, the specific realities of trans women, non-binary people, racialized women, rural women and other marginalized communities must be considered. Political parties need to focus on prevention measures, policy changes, social justice reform and multifactorial and intersectional actions to halt violence against women.
The lives of countless women, girls and 2SLGBTQIA+ people depend on it.