We are deeply devastated to hear of the recent murders of women and girls who suffered at the hands of violent men they once trusted.
Since the start of mandated social isolation, there have been eleven domestic violence cases resulting in lethality across Canada:
- April 1 – 41-year-old woman murdered by a 35-year-old man in their home. CTV News
- April 1 – Audrey Hopkinson, 33 years old, was a young mother and Brockville General Hospital nurse, and was murdered by her domestic partner in Brockville, Ontario. The Recorder & Times
- April 2 – Tracy MacKenzie, 35 years old, was killed by her partner in Hammonds Plains, Nova Scotia. Saltwire
- April 8 – 61-year-old Tina Seminara was assaulted by her husband in Osoyoos, B.C., and
died a week later from her injuries Global News
- April 11 – Julie Racette, a 34-year-old female, was killed by her Caucasian partner in Winnipeg Manitoba. Julie was a member of Manitoba’s Ebb and Flow First Nation. She was a mother, a sister, a daughter, and a popular coworker. APTN
- April 17 – Tina Seminara, in her early 60s, was a yoga teacher who died from the life-threatening injuries inflicted on her by her common-law partner who heavily assaulted her in Osoyoos, BC. SOOToday
- April 18-19- A woman was assaulted in Portapique, Nova Scotia by her long term common-law partner, and then she managed to escape, hid in the woods overnight, and survived. The man proceeded to murder 22 people, making it the deadliest mass shooting in Canada. The same man had intentions of killing his ex-wife.
- April 27 – Brittany Ann Meszaros, 24 years old, was killed by her common-law partner in Calgary, Alberta. Global News
- May 2 – Tina Tingley-McAleer, a 43-year-old woman who was an “amazing sister, a great mom, a wonderful grandmother” was killed by her domestic partner in Hillsborough, N.B. Global News
- May 4 – Lois Paterson-Gartner, 55 years old, her 13-year-old daughter, and their family dog were found dead in a murder-suicide carried out by a man they lived within rural Strathcona County in Alberta. Global News
- May 15 – Marie Morin was found dead in Winnipeg, after what police believe was an incident of domestic violence. CBC News
Combined with escalated COVID-19 home quarantining measures, abusive partners can use isolation, coercion and threats, emotional abuse, economic abuse, abusing children and companion animals, as well as their male privilege to fully maximize their power and control and exert violence on their victims.
Eighty four per cent of intimate partner violence occurred in a private dwelling in 2018. As more people are asked to stay home due to COVID-19, more victims are quarantined with their abusers, removing times and opportunities to leave and seek help, exacerbating the patterns, frequency, and degree of abuse.
For victims of homicide, there is already a known pattern of family violence that leads to lethality. Women and children are killed by people they know, including by their long-term partner (husband and boyfriend), and fathers.
We are dedicated to the elimination of violence against Two-Spirit people, non-binary people, women and girls. Since COVID-19 became a health emergency in Canada, we have increased our efforts in helping women and children escape abusive homes safely:
- Our crisis lines are now available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week and offer text messaging as an option to women and children escaping violence, as well as their loved ones who want to support them
- Our trained staff help women create safety plans including identifying transition homes as well as providing them with a hotel room where they can seek refuge
- We provide counselling, both long-term and short-term to women who have left their abusive partners
- We advocate for women navigating family law, ensuring that their children are kept safe
- We help survivors identify their employment goals and assist them in accessing services as they work through a precarious job market
If you or you know someone who needs to plan around leaving an abusive home, please call our crisis line when it is safe for you at 604-687-1867 or 1-855-687-1868 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While people are encouraged to stay at home, victims may feel isolated from people who love and care for them. Even when victims are isolated, we encourage them to maintain social connections online or over the phone, if it is safe to do so. As Dr. Bonnie Henry once said, “Your immediate safety is more important than physically distancing.”