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Sask. has second-highest number of rural domestic homicide victims
Published Thursday, December 6, 2018 6:21PM CST
Last Updated Thursday, December 6, 2018 6:48PM CST
A new report is painting a troubling picture about domestic violence in Canada.
It not only shows women or girls make up 76 per cent of victims, but it also highlights who those women most likely are.
The multi-year report from the Canadian Domestic Homicide Prevention Initiative looked at data from 2010-2015.
It found 476 people were slain in domestic homicides over that period. Nearly three-quarters of victims were women and more than half of all victims were either refugees, immigrants, Indigenous, rural residents or children.
It also shows roughly a quarter of domestic homicides in Canada involved rural, remote, and Northern (RRN) populations. Nationally, the second-highest number of domestic homicide victims living in a remote population were in Saskatchewan (12 per cent).
Ontario had the highest number of RRN victims at 25 per cent.
In contract, the Yukon – where many live remotely – had no domestic homicides.
Alana Gardiner works as a domestic violence court case worker in Saskatoon. She attends trials with victims or on behalf of victims.
The majority of Gardiner’s clients are women, many of whom come from various cultural backgrounds.
She says abuse can stem from a past relationship, a situation where two people share children together, or a marriage.
“We prep them. We sit in the soft room with them. We provide that emotional support and ground them so that they are ready to testify. It’s important that we are there because they are very nervous and scared,” Gardiner said.
While she knows it’s difficult, Gardiner encourages victims to come forward and report violent incidents, “because then you will end the violence and it will maybe get the help that this person needs so that they don’t do it to the next partner.”
Gardiner says her desire to help others has kept her in the role for the last six years.
“I feel passionate about this job because I can help them rebuild their lives if they need that,” she said.
The report’s co-author says the results should serve as a wakeup call to society.
“In this study, it’s one piece of the pie. We’re doing a number of different things in this research to examine the issues with the goal of being able to provide better risk assessment, risk management, and safety planning strategies for people so we can hopefully help prevent homicides from occurring,” Anna-Lee Straatman said.
According to helpguide.org, people who are abused may:
- Seem afraid or anxious to please their partner
- Receive harassing phones or texts from their partner
- Blame injuries on what they call accident
- Be restricted from seeing family and friend’s
- Show signs of being depressed, anxious or suicidal
Where you can go for help in Saskatoon:
- Family Service Saskatoon
- Open-Door Society
- International Women of Saskatoon
- Sexual Assault & Information Centre