When it comes to women’s safety, Canada is in the midst of a human rights crisis. Canada lacks a federal strategy to end violence against women and girls. From 2002 to 2009, there were 4,836 homicides; 1 in 5 of those were domestic. In 83% of domestic homicides, the victims were women.
There are nearly 600 known cases of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls in Canada. Each year, nearly 360,000 Canadian children witness domestic violence. Each week, 1 to 2 women are murdered by a current or former partner. Hundreds of thousands of women are forced to leave their homes to avoid violent assaults.
|Women with Disabilities and Violence
Canada urgently needs a national strategy to end violence against women and girls. Male violence affects all women and girls in Canada, but racialized women, Aboriginal women, women living with disabilities, and recent immigrant women are more vulnerable, as a result of poverty, marginalization and discrimination.
- Between 2002 and 2009, 1 in 5 murders in Canada were spousal homicides, 83% of which were murders of women.
- Spousal homicides of women declined for three decades, until 2006-2009 when they stopped declining and remained stable.
- 76% of victims of criminal harassment (stalking) are women, and over half of these were harassed by a former or current intimate male partner.
- Women are over 6 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than men. Men are the assailants in 97% of sexual assaults.
- Less than 1 in 10 sexual assaults are reported to the police.
There are 582 documented cases of murdered or missing Aboriginal women and girls. This represents approximately 10% of female homicides in Canada, despite the fact that Aboriginal women make up only 3% of the total female population in Canada.
Violence against women affects children:
Nearly 360,000 Canadian children witness domestic violence every year. 88% of the missing and murdered Aboriginal women were mothers, whose children are left behind.
Effective gun control under attack:
Canada’s gun control laws, enacted after the 1989 École Polytechnique Massacre, reduced gun-related spousal homicide by 50%. Long guns are the guns most likely to be used to murder women. Despite this, the Conservatives have introduced bills to abolish the long gun registry. Canada needs strong gun control to disarm violence against women.
To escape violence, women need:
- free or low-cost family law legal aid;
- adequate and affordable housing;
- a national, non-profit child care system
- a guaranteed liveable income, and economic parity with men
- supports and resources provided by the autonomous women’s movement which prioritizes women’s liberty and equality;
- culturally-relevant resources and policies dedicated to ending violence against Aboriginal women and girls
- immigration policy that protects women, both with status and undocumented, who are escaping violence to and/or within Canada.
It is not acceptable for various levels of government to hide behind jurisdictional arguments in defence of their own inaction.
Male violence maintains women’s inequality in Canada. Government inaction to stop means women’s and girls’ fundamental freedoms enshrined in Canada’s constitution continue to be violated.
Q: How will your party work with grassroots feminist and Aboriginal anti-violence groups to develop a national strategy to end violence against women?
Q: How will you party ensure that federal funds flow to grassroots supports and services, such as shelters and rape crisis centres, and culturally-specific violence against women programs?