TORONTO — On average, one woman or girl is killed every two and a half days in Canada, according to a report on femicide in the country.
The report by the Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability found that, in 2020, 160 women and girls were killed in Canada. April was the deadliest month for women and girls in Canada, according to the report, with a total of 26 victims.
This isn’t a new phenomenon, or a result of the pandemic, as the number of women and girls killed each year in Canada has remained relatively constant.
“The overall number of women and girls killed in Canada has not moved significantly down for a number of years,” Anuradha Dugal, a member of the team that compiled the report, told CTV News Channel. “It is a stubborn number that continues to reflect the way in which women are killed because of their gender throughout Canada at this time”
The report, #CallItFemicide, says that in 90 per cent of cases where the accused killer has been identified, they are male. The ages of victims varied, but more than half were between the ages 25 and 64.
Relationships also varied, when the information was disclosed, but more than half were partners and 26 per cent were family members.
“Women and girls know their killers,” said Dugal. “They are family members, they are partners, they are former partners.”
Indigenous women and girls are disproportionately impacted by femicide, according to the report.
“If we go back actually over a five year period from 2016 to 2020, the Canadian femicide observatory documented that 149 [Indigenous] women and girls were killed,” said Dugal. “And this represents about 20 per cent of all femicide, which is far in excess of the number of Indigenous women and girls proportionately by population in Canada.”
While the pandemic has made domestic and gendered violence worse and also made it more difficult for women and girls to seek help, these numbers have remained steady for years, said Dugal.
“We can’t forget that there was a pandemic of violence against women, even before the lockdowns happened,” she said.
Ultimately, we need a national plan to address the issue, and that focuses on Indigenous women and girls, and it has to be a plan that receives proper research and funding, said Dugal.
“We have to respond to the calls to action from the inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, we need to make sure that all of our social change work makes the message clear that violence is unacceptable, and then we have to invest heavily actually in community based solutions, it’s very important for there to be a national action plan on violence against women and girls that includes Indigenous women and girls.”
A previous version of this story quoted Anuradha Dugal as saying 149 women and girls were killed in Canada between 2016 and 2020. That number actually represents the number of Indigenous women and girls killed during that period.