IPV moves closer to recognition as a pandemic

The provincial government has accepted that Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is a pandemic, but Bill 173 still has a ways to go before it becomes legislation.

Norma Elliott, Director of Community Relations and Finance at Women in 

Crisis (WIC) Algoma, says the acknowledgement is encouraging.

“I know people have said what’s the big deal whether or not they say the words,” said Elliott, “but for women who are experiencing abuse and violence, to them, that says that they’re being heard. They’re being seen, and most importantly they’re being believed.”

Bill 173, put forth by the NDP, is officially referred to as the Intimate Partner Violence Epidemic Act. It requires the Government of Ontario to recognize that Intimate Partner Violence is an epidemic in Ontario.

It was the first of 86 recommendations arising out of the June 28, 2022 Renfrew Inquest, which probed the murders of three Ottawa area women on the same day by the same man, on Sept. 22, 2015.

The Ford government, up until this week, had refused to call IPV an epidemic because it’s not a virus.

“Everyone is realizing that this is happening,” said Elliott. “It used to be behind closed doors and what happened behind closer doors, stayed there. There was the guilt and shame that went with that. But not anymore. It’s time we started holding perpetrators accountable for their actions and behaviours.”

Lindsay Stewart, of Angie’s Angels said her group, which arose after the murder of Angie Sweeney last October, was “a little disheartened” after Ford’s initial refusal to agree IPV was an epidemic. 

She said she’s thrilled Ford’s outlook has changed and that the Bill continues to advance.

“Although it’s not a virus, it’s certainly spreading like one, Stewart says, “The numbers are staggering. We’re very happy to hear that the Conservative government and the NDP are working together for the betterment of our province. We all know that doesn’t happen very often. I commend them for doing that. But we do believe that we need to push this across our whole country and get the Federal government involved also.”

Elliott would like to know where Ottawa is at on the issue as well.

Premier Ford has said he would like an in-depth study into IPV. That has raised concern in some quarters that Bill 173 could become mired in further investigations, stall and fall short of receiving royal assent in Queen’s Park.

“I’m not sure why they need to tale a deeper look,” Elliott says. “Take a look at the recommendations from Renfrew County. Not all of them are new. It’s all spelled out.”

Years prior to the Renfrew County Inquest, said Elliott, there were deep probes into the 1996 murder of Arlene May and the 2000 murder of Gillian Hadley. In each of those incidents, the perpetrator killed their intimate partners and then took their own lives.

The Renfrew County inquest drew heavily from those prior probes.

“I’m not sure where they need to look and how they need to do the looking,” says Elliott. “My concern is they always want to do this research. How much money are they putting in that when the experts can tell them right up front what the issues are. They’re working it, living it and hearing from frontline workers.”

Canadian government statistics show there were 497 victims of Intimate Partner homicide between 2014 and 2019. Eighty per cent of the victims were women.

2 thoughts on “IPV moves closer to recognition as a pandemic

  1. This is a topic that should discussed at all levels of government. This is a very serious and unfortunately prevalent problem

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *