Nicole Thompson, Canadian Press
Posted on Wednesday 30 January 2019 12:44 EST
A woman or girl last year was killed on average every day in Canada every 2.5 days, according to an inaugural report on femicide that says the problem needs to be better understood to reduce the number of killings.
The first annual report by the Canadian Femicide Observatory on Justice and Responsibility, entitled ".CallItFemicide", was released on Wednesday and responds to the United Nations' call for countries to better monitor the killing of women on the basis of gender, said lead author Myrna Dawson, director of the Observatory and Professor at the University of Guelph.
"It was really home, how often it happened when we watched it every day," she said. "Women are still the most vulnerable to men with whom they are confidential or trust."
The aim of the report, at least in part, is to acknowledge that the circumstances and motivations regarding violent deaths of women differ from men's circumstances and motives so that it is possible to better understand and prevent femicide.
"The context in which women and girls are killed is vastly different, because they are most often killed by the people they know, and that is, unlike the men who are most often killed by known and strangers," Dawson said. "We call it for what it is and recognize its difference, underlining the fact that we need different types of prevention."
The report states that 148 women and girls were killed in 133 incidents in 2018, 140 people were accused of their deaths. There were no allegations in 12 out of 133 incidents. Some cases include several accused persons.
More than 90% of the accused were men.
In many cases, police investigations are still in progress, Dawson said, adding that researchers are planning to monitor cases through the judicial system in the coming years to better understand the facts that have entered them.
Statistics include a bathing attack that left eight men and two men last year in Toronto. The accused in this case, Alek Minassian, was charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 attempted murders. In February 2020 he will become a judge.
Women who died in a bath attack are among 21% of the allegedly killed by a stranger in 2018. In contrast, 53 percent reportedly killed intimate partners, according to a report. Another 13 percent allegedly killed other family members.
This includes the case of Krassimir Pejcinovsky and her 13-year-old daughter Venallie, who was allegedly killed in May 2018 by a partner of the older Pejcinovsky. Her 15-year-old son, Roy, was also killed in this event, but statistics are not included.
Numbers and demographic information were excluded from media reports of death, the study said. Dawson said media information was more accessible and at least as accurate as information from official sources. The report, however, states that in the coming years, when these cases will take place through the judiciary system, researchers will deal with court records to track updates.
Dawson stated that statistics are statistically disproportionately represented by demographics. The report, for example, states that native women account for only about five percent of the population, but make up 36 percent of women and girls killed by violence. Thirty-four percent of women and girls were killed in rural areas where only 16 percent of the population lives, the report said.
Understanding these issues is key to preventing further femicides, said Julie Lalonde, Women's Rights Advocate and Public Teacher.
For example, she noted that funding for sexual assaults and shelters for women is distributed to residents in Ontario, which further disadvantages women in sparsely populated areas.
"The argument is that it is less needed (in rural areas), perhaps in terms of numbers, but in rural communities you need more complex needs because you have to travel long distances, transit for people to get away," Lalonde said.
She said statistics such as those in the report also help to curb misconceptions about violence against women, such as the idea that women in sexual relations should leave.
"We are not talking about things like criminal harassment, or about the fact that most women are killed after leaving or saying she leaves a partner," she said. "We have to challenge all the myths and stereotypes that women say is their own fault."