Family violence knows no respite - The360 Lifestyle

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  • Saturday, November 30, 2019

    Family violence knows no respite

    Family violence knows no respite

    Efforts to address family violence in Canada have not significantly reduced the rate of family homicides, suggest researchers who want a more nuanced national debate on the issue. 

    According to a new national study, all the trends that emerged from the Canadian Homicide Prevention Initiative's review of these homicide rates between 2010 and 2015 remained virtually unchanged over the next three years.

    From 2010 to 2018, the vast majority of the 662 victims were women or girls, and the risk was increasing in vulnerable demographic groups - residents of rural, isolated or northern areas, immigrants and refugees, Aboriginal people and children. More than half of family homicides (56%) occurred in a "current spousal relationship", and one-quarter in a "past spousal relationship".

    According to the study, women accounted for 79% of all adult victims of family-related homicide between 2010 and 2015. In children, girls make up 53% of the victims. The highest rates are found in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, followed by Manitoba; the lowest rates are observed in Quebec and British Columbia.

    Of the 662 family homicides recorded in the nine years of the study (2010-2018), 52% involved victims belonging to at least one of the four vulnerable groups identified by the researchers. This figure was already 53% between 2010 and 2015, suggesting that family violence strategies appear to have had a limited impact, says Myrna Dawson, co-director of the Initiative and a professor at the University of Guelph. , in Ontario.

    In light of this data, the researcher believes that the debate should focus less on individual circumstances than on how violence between partners is perceived and managed in society in general. Ms. Dawson recalls, for example, that many provinces have long established specialized domestic violence courts with trained professionals to deal with the complexities of such situations.

    Yet, the latest data suggest that the provinces that have established such courts still see high homicide rates, which have not evolved over time. For example, Manitoba, which has had specialized courts for years, had one of the three highest rates of family homicide in the country.

    According to Dawson, citizens must also radically change the way they respond to family violence, stopping to believe that bickering is not about them. Changing this basic approach, she said, could open the door to a better understanding of domestic violence and a broader ability to recognize its warning signs.

    Ms. Dawson also pointed out that the available data suggest that women with disabilities and the elderly have also become particularly vulnerable in all research to date.

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