by: MP Holmes
In March 2019, Waterloo Region was ranked the least safe and least healthy place for women among the largest metropolitan areas in Canada.
In 2022, one-quarter of all criminal charges laid in Waterloo Region were related to intimate partner violence.
In ten years of data, the Waterloo Region Police Service fielded an average of 18 calls related to intimate partner violence a day and laid an average of 10 charges per day within the same timeframe.
In response to this kind of data, on August 29, the city of Kitchener, Ontario passed the motion to declare gender-based violence an epidemic.
CKMS News discussed how and why this declaration is a positive development with Jenna Mayne, the Communications and Fund Development Manager, of the Women’s Crisis Centre of Waterloo Region. She also talked about the types and impacts of intimate partner violence, and what support resources do we need more of to curb this disturbing trend.
In Waterloo Region, there are 990 shelter beds for women, trans individuals and gender-diverse people. Forty-five beds are in Kitchener and another 45 are in Cambridge. The transitional home, Aspen Place, offers at least 10 beds. The shelters are full and lengths of stay are long, up to year in some cases because there is nowhere to go. The affordable housing crisis has reverberations across the social landscape, but nearly none so devastating as for women seeking to leave abusive relationships. And of course, it’s not only women who are being impacted. In 2022, of the 383 people in shelters, almost half of them were children.
The abuse takes many forms, — physical, emotional and controlling finances and socialization. Since November 26, 2022, 38 women have been murdered by their partners in Ontario. While demand for help is high, it is no doubt a small portion of the whole. While 383 people used the shelters, more than 2,400 calls came into the agency’s support line and online chat last year, and over 1,100 people were supported through their outreach services.
This declaration pertains to the city of Kitchener only. Regional Council is expected to declare intimate partner violence an epidemic at council meeting on September 12, 2023. Women’s Crisis Services will be presenting to council alongside their partners in the Family Violence Project asking the council to declare the epidemic and to integrate partner violence in the Region’s Community Safety and Wellbeing Plan.
If you or someone you know is experiencing intimate partner violence, call:
Anselma House in Kitchener – 519-742-5894
or Haven House in Cambridge – 519-653-2289
or online at www.wcswr.org
Anonymity is assured regardless which method is used.
The music on today’s show is called “Maple Music” by Godmode courtesy of by Expectantly Maple Music on YouTube.