Rates of spousal homicide highest in SK: report
- EFN Staff | May 15, 2017
A recently released interim report from the Ministry of Justice on data collected about domestic homicides in Saskatchewan from 2005 to 2014 reveals there were 48 domestic-related homicides with nine related suicides.
According to the report, Saskatchewan has the highest intimate partner homicide rate and sexual and physical violence rate against children. This on the heels of a Statistics Canada report that has Saskatchewan leading the country in the highest rates of domestic violence.
“This report provides us with needed insight into this issue, and I’m very happy to see continued progress on this important issue,” Justice Minister and Attorney General Gordon Wyant said in a media release. “This report, combined with the work being done by the Domestic Violence Death Review Panel, will provide important information for determining the province’s response to domestic violence.”
The review panel consists of 13 members from the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Social Services, a Domestic Violence Court caseworker from Regina, Parkland Victim Services, two health regions, the Provincial Association of Transition House of Saskatchewan, a cultural counsellor from the Pinegrove Correctional Centre, and members from the RCMP and Moose Jaw Police Service.
Lani Elliot from Regina survived a years-long violent marriage. She recalls a moment when her ex-husband drove her out to the middle of nowhere and assaulted her with a baseball bat in front of her child. Elliot thought that was the moment she was going to die to from a man she exchanged vows with.
“If I have stayed, I don’t think that I would be here today. I don’t think I’d be able to speak out on the matter at all,” said Elliot, who is a national and local motivational speaker on domestic violence.
Elliot survived a violent marriage where other women didn’t. The report states that six of the 10 communities in Canada that have the highest rates of violence against Indigenous women and girls are in northern Saskatchewan – Indigenous women are three times more likely to be victims of interpersonal violence than non-Indigenous women and five times more likely to be victims of homicide according to national research.
“I know for myself being on the reserve [at the time] there’s a serious lack of resources when it comes to victims of domestic violence,” Elliot said. “It’s harder for women who are going through that to get help and to get out of those situations because they don’t have access to those resources…this is one of the problems that many Indigenous women face especially in the northern communities.”
A final report will be released in the fall of this year where proposed recommendations from the review panel will be made.
“Recommendations will focus on awareness and education, assessment and intervention practices, available resources and systemic inter-agency coordination,” as stated in the report.
Until then, Elliot offers a message to women with children who are in violent relationships is to get out for the sake of their well-being.
“You have to find a safe place to go to because your children do not deserve to grow up in that kind of environment. Your children should always come first,” she said. “Your children deserve a life without violence and deserve to grow up not living in fear.”
Transition houses are available that provide emergency accommodation to women and children, family violence outreaches funded through the Ministry of Justice are also available, and a 24/7 crisis hotline by dialing 211.