One woman or girl is killed every 2.5 days in Canada, according to a report released by the Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability (CFOJA) earlier this week.
The report, #CallItFemicide, explores the patterns found in gender-related homicides and was posted following a UN call for countries to better track the gender-related killing of women.
A total of 148 women and girls were killed by violence in 2018, says the CFOJA. On average, one woman is killed every 2.5 days, a trend that has been consistent in the country for the past 40 years.
“[The victims] provide the unequivocal knowledge that most women and girls experience violence perpetrated primarily by men because they were women and girls,” reads the report.
According to the CFOJA, some communities and demographics are overrepresented when looking at national data.
The report found that the provinces with the highest rates of female homicides were Nunvaut, followed by the Yukon, New Brunswick, and Manitoba, respectively. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Quebec recorded the fewest amount of female killings, followed by BC, then Nova Scotia.
Of the women and girls who died, Indigenous women were found to be overrepresented as victims. While Indigenous women only account for roughly 5% of Canada’s total population, they comprised 36% of all women who were killed by violence in 2018.
Besides ethnicity, age and location also created noticeable patterns for victims. Approximately one third of the victims lived in rural Canadian communities while women aged 25 – 34 made up 27% of the victims, despite being only 14% of the country’s total population.
“The deaths of countless other women and girls in our country have gone unrecorded in official statistics because their deaths have never been officially designated as a homicide, often despite family and friends knowing that they were killed by violence and by whom,” reads the report.
“Many other women and girls remai missing – for days, months, years – and are often presumed dead, or they have been killed, and their deaths have not been discovered.”
Of the nearly 150 women who were murdered in 2018, the vast majority of assailants were male, and over half of them were in relationships with the victim.
“Like global patterns, the home is the most dangerous place for women and girls…” reads the report.
In 91% of cases, the accused is male, a pattern that the CFOJA says is found internationally. Last year, 53% of the victims were killed by male partners, while another 13% were killed by male family members.
The remaining 34% were killed by male strangers (21%) or acquaintances (13%).
After the homicides, approximately 11% the accused committed suicide. That statistic jumps to 27% if the men were in a relationship with the victim.
At the end of the report, the CFOJA identified three areas of Canadian culture that could be changed to help prevent violence against women.
Efforts could be made in the media, the criminal justice system (specifically in courts) and on the legislative and policy level, says the research group.
“All three arenas can play a powerful role in challenging, or entrenching, problematic attitudes, beliefs, and stereotypes that work to perpetuate and maintain men’s violence against women and girls,” says the CFOJA.