Killings of women and girls up again in Canada in 2021 as researchers point to pandemic stresses

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New figures show that more women and girls died in Canada in the first half of this year than in the same period of the previous two years, a rise that University of Guelph researchers warn is a telltale sign that the epidemic The complex pressure of women has been exposed to greater risk of violence.

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Months of fluctuating lockdowns and stay-at-home orders have left women, many of whom were already facing violence from abusers, exposed to more deadly attacks, said University of Guelph professor Myrna. According to new data released by Dawson and his team Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability,

“What’s happening is that the situation is getting more tense and it’s making previously violent men more violent, and women who have probably figured out for years how to negotiate that violence have resources.” doesn’t have the ability to access or exit,” Dawson said.


According to the Femicide Observatory, 92 women and girls were murdered in the first six months of 2021, 14 more than the same period last year and 32 more than in 2019.

“This is a trend we need to be more concerned about,” Dawson said. “It’s only an overhead. There are thousands who are still living with violence.”

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Gender-based violence expert and director Dawson said the increase in gender- and gender-related homicides of women and girls – along with a lack of access to services and shelters – reflects a correlation with stressful domestic situations. Guelph Center for the Study of Social and Legal Response to Violence.

Dawson said we need to start paying more attention to finding intervention points and stressed that there is a clear lack of safety nets for women seeking asylum.

“We need to make people more aware of the risk factors involved in these killings,” he said, adding that there is a gap in the training needed for professionals, including law enforcement and judges, to understand these crimes, so that They can respond more effectively.

According to the Femicide Observatory report, intimate partners, primarily men, were 37 per cent of the persons accused in the 2021 murders, while another 15 per cent were classified as family members and 39 per cent were unspecified. Of the 79 cases in which the sex of the accused was revealed, 73 were male.

Dawson said there were several instances in which the accused attacked the victim’s children and other family members as well.

“It often happens that when a woman is murdered there will be several victims,” ​​she said.

Of the reported deaths, Ontario was home to 33, followed by British Columbia and Quebec, with 17 deaths each.

Methods of attack are wide-ranging, but “often we see firearms and stabs are often neck-and-neck as the two most common,” Dawson says.

Major risk factors include women seeking to leave an abusive situation and men seeking to dominate or control. When children are involved, violence can be referred to as “revenge killings” – so children become a tool to punish the woman.

Dawson also noted that Indigenous women made up 12 percent of the victims, more than twice their representation in the population.

Recently, Peel Regional Police reported an increase in the number of women being assaulted by intimate partners.

Nick Milinovich, deputy chief of Peel Police, said the increase in those charges “tells us that something has changed,” suggesting that the pandemic played a role.

“It’s very possible, the pressure and forced isolation are creating a scenario where people are reacting more violently,” Milinovich recently told the Star.

Thursday is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and marks the start of a global campaign to raise awareness of male violence against women.

Jason Miller is a Toronto-based reporter for STAR covering crime and justice in the Peel area. Contact him on email: [email protected] or follow him on Twitter: @millermotionpic

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