Women in vul­ner­a­ble de­mo­graph­ics most at risk of do­mes­tic homi­cide


More than three quar­ters of Canada’s do­mes­tic homi­cide vic­tims were women, ac­cord­ing to a new re­port re­leased Thurs­day that said be­long­ing to some spe­cific de­mo­graphic groups el­e­vates the risk of a vi­o­lent death even more. The re­port from the Cana­dian Do­mes­tic Homi­cide Preven­tion Ini­tia­tive, a multi-year project study­ing do­mes­tic homi­cides with a fo­cus on vul­ner­a­ble groups, tracked data from across the coun­try and an­a­lyzed rel­e­vant deaths be­tween 2010 and 2015. Of the 476 peo­ple slain in a do­mes­tic homi­cide dur­ing that time, the re­port found 76 per cent of them were women or girls.

The study fo­cused par­tic­u­larly on four vul­ner­a­ble groups — those of Indige­nous her­itage, im­mi­grants and refugees, peo­ple liv­ing in re­mote or ru­ral ar­eas and chil­dren. Taken to­gether, peo­ple be­long­ing to those four groups com­prised 53 per cent of homi­cide vic­tims killed dur­ing that time pe­riod, the re­port found. Myrna Daw­son, re­port coau­thor and Univer­sity of Guelph pro­fes­sor of pub­lic pol­icy and crim­i­nal jus­tice, said the num­bers should serve as a wake-up call to a so­ci­ety that may have been lulled into a false sense of se­cu­rity about the safety of women in gen­eral and vul­ner­a­ble pop­u­la­tions in par­tic­u­lar.

“There is much talk about the need for im­proved re­sources for women and chil­dren ex­pe­ri­enc­ing vi­o­lence, but I think some­times that the gen­eral pub­lic feels that we have ad­dressed this is­sue,” Daw­son said.

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