November is Woman Abuse Prevention Month. At Shelter Movers, we believe that every individual has a role to play in ending gender-based violence.
In Waterloo Region, the average number of calls police receive for domestic violence each day is 16, while Women’s Crisis Services of Waterloo Region report an average of 9 calls a day.
Every 6 days a woman is killed by her intimate partner in Canada, and there are over 6000 women and children sleeping in shelters at night. According to the CBC, over 19,000 women and children a month are turned away at shelters.
These issues have been compounded by COVID-19 creating a shadow pandemic of intimate-partner violence in Canada. The first year of the pandemic saw over 160 women killed in Canada, or one woman or girl killed every 2.5 days, according to data from the Ontario Association of Interval & Transition Houses May 2021 report, Femicide in Ontario.
Femicide refers to the killing of one or more females by one or more males because of their gender. A 40 year study conducted by the University of Guelph’s Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability concluded that while the overall homicide rates in both females and males have declined from 1975 to 2015, women were still more than five times more likely to be killed by their intimate partner.
When survivors of abuse are considering whether or not to flee their abuser, significant barriers stand in their way. Feelings of shame and guilt, fear of retaliation or physical harm, financial cost, and lack of resources are just a few of the many obstacles women face. At Shelter Movers, our vision is a country where fleeing intimate partner violence is barrier-free. We partner with local agencies to provide moving and storage services at no cost to survivors of abuse, and help families transition to lives free from violence.
Action is Needed
Lead by Women’s Shelters Canada and featuring the input from anti-violence leaders, the National Action Plan on Violence Against Women and Girls report outlines 100 recommendations for policy actions to end gender-based violence (GBV) and violence against women (VAW) in Canada. Based on these recommendations, it is clear than a successful action plan must feature an all-of-government approach, the voices and experiences of people most affected at the centre, and systemic solutions to combat the pervasiveness of GBV and VAW in our society.
While coordination between our federal and provincial/territorial governments is vital to implement the necessary preventative measures and policy changes, there are important steps citizens can take to promote the NAP.