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PRESS RELEASE

For immediate release: May 1, 2014

Anti-Violence Women Groups: British Columbia Must Prevent Domestic Homicide Against Women

Vancouver, BC – In a press conference held today, anti-violence women’s groups addressed the recent increase in domestic homicide against women over the last month.

The recent death of a woman in Saanich on April 28 raises concerns of a domestic homicide. She was found dead in her house by police who later found the submerged body of a man in the water off Cattle Point, 2.5km east of their house. On April 2nd an estranged husband attempted to kill his wife in Langley, on April 16th a husband tried to kill his wife in Abbotsford, and on April 21th a woman was killed by her common-law partner in Clearwater.

“With the recent spree of domestic homicide in BC, there has been heavy system involvement and seemingly the system constantly ignores the role of women’s organizations as key in supporting women’s safety. Front-line anti-violence workers go a long way to support the safety of women dealing with male violence.” said Rosa Elena Arteaga, Manager of Direct Services and Clinical Practice at Battered Women’s Support Services. “The struggles of women dealing with male violence to achieve empowerment registered in every aspect of our community as women navigate lethality, poverty, and provincial system of continued apathy.”

photdfoDaisy Kler, a front line-worker at Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter notes that “At least in the first three cases, there was previous police involvement. This raises serious questions about police diligence in taking the appropriate measures to protect women from male violence.”

“Violence against women in relationships is a systemic problem that requires a systemic solution. We know that women and their children are most at risk in the two years after they leave their abusive partner” said Lisa Rupert, Director of Housing, YWCA Metro Vancouver. “We need to work together to create a safety net that provides women with the supports and resources they need to be able to leave in the first place, and follow that up by meeting women’s ongoing needs for safety, including adequate legal aid coverage”.

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About the Organizations:

YWCA Metro Vancouver is a registered charity, providing a range of integrated services for women and their families, and those seeking to improve the quality of their lives. From early learning and care to housing, health and fitness, employment services and leadership, YWCA Metro Vancouver touches lives in our communities.

Past 35 years, Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS) has worked to end violence against women in British Columbia through awareness, prevention, and intervention. BWSS’s impact includes providing a crisis line, support groups, legal advocacy as well as employment and skill-based training. BWSS’s community engagement is vast and includes supporting leadership with youth and larger community through social enterprise.

Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter is Canada’s first rape crisis centre. VRRWS operates a 24 hour rape crisis line and transition house for battered women and their children. In the past year alone, VRRWS responded to 1,200 women escaping male violence.

Media Contacts:

Hilla Kerner, Vancouver Rape Relief & Women’s Shelter, 604 872 8212, [email protected]

Rosa Elena Arteaga, Battered Women’s Support Services, 778 996 5993, [email protected]

Chantelle Krish, YWCA Metro Vancouver 604 895 5767, [email protected]