In a resounding call to action, Peel Region has officially declared gender-based and intimate partner violence an epidemic. This bold move is aimed at raising awareness and securing more funding to combat family violence. Peel Region’s unanimous decision is part of a broader effort to shine a spotlight on this pressing issue and advocate for legislative measures to address it. Let’s delve deeper into this significant development.
Rising Incidents Demand Attention:
In 2021, Peel police responded to an alarming 17,000 incidents of family and intimate partner violence. To put this into perspective, it averages to nearly 45 incidents every day, or about two every hour. What’s even more concerning is that 78 percent of the victims in cases where charges were laid were women. However, advocates emphasize that these statistics represent only what gets reported, painting a grim picture of the hidden suffering endured by many.
Local Governments Unite:
Peel Region joins the ranks of 25 other local governments in Ontario that have already labeled gender-based and intimate partner violence as an epidemic. This includes Durham Region, the Town of Oakville, and Halton Region. Notably, Toronto has not made this declaration, while Ottawa has.
A Powerful Reminder:
The decision to declare gender-based and intimate partner violence an epidemic was strongly influenced by recent tragic events. The memory of 11-year-old Riya Rajkumar, who tragically lost her life in February 2019, served as a poignant reminder of the urgency to address this issue. Additionally, the recent murder of 43-year-old mother Davinder Kaur after meeting her estranged husband in a park underscored the gravity of the situation.
The Call for Support:
Peel Region’s declaration is not just symbolic; it comes with a plea for more funding to support victim service providers. These organizations are on the frontline, helping those affected by intimate partner violence, and the demand for their services is growing.
The Ontario government has committed substantial resources to address violence, allocating over $693 million to support victims since 2020. In the 2023-24 budget, an additional $2.5 million is designated for youth violence, human trafficking prevention, and victim response programs.
Moreover, the government of Ontario is aligned with the 10-year National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence, endorsing it alongside other federal, provincial, and territorial governments.
Conclusion: A United Front Against Violence
Peel Region’s bold declaration is a significant step in the ongoing battle against intimate partner violence. It sends a clear message that this issue demands immediate attention and action. The hope is that this declaration will not only raise awareness but also lead to much-needed funding and legislation to combat family violence. It’s a united front against violence, and together, we can strive to create safer communities for all.