According to the Ontario Association of Interval & Transition Houses (OAITH) femicide reports, the number of women killed by domestic or intimate partner violence continues to rise.
In Hamilton, women and children are trying to escape abusive homes but there are major challenges for the Violence Against Women (VAW)-serving agencies. The entire VAW shelter system in Hamilton is under tremendous, unsustainable pressure; every women’s shelter is over-capacity, and we are turning away women fleeing violence at staggering rates.
At Inasmuch House alone, we turned away 5,715 women looking for space between 2019-2022. And that number doesn’t include the children who are also experiencing the violence. This is truly unacceptable.
In 2022, an inquest into the 2015 triple-femicide in eastern Ontario made recommendations to the Ontario government, many of which have since been rejected. As well, it seems the government has no plans to implement the remaining ones.
The VAW-sector is concerned because with rates of femicides increasing over the past few years, it is time for all of us to take this seriously.
We not only are turning away women and children in the thousands due to capacity pressures, but women and children can’t find safe affordable housing to move into so they remain in shelter system for longer. Without shelter, safe and affordable housing, and specialized services, women and children’s lives are at risk.
This summer, the City of Hamilton declared Intimate Partner Violence and Gender Based Violence an Epidemic. We hope that this motion along with motions from other cities in Ontario, will bring this to the attention of the provincial government.
Inasmuch House sees first-hand the effects of intimate partner violence and gender-based violence on the women and children we serve. They deserve better. They deserve safety and housing and support and to live their lives freely. And they deserve a government that will take these recommendations seriously.
Director of Inasmuch House & Women’s Services, Mission Services of Hamilton
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