Violence Against Women
For over 31 years, Interim Place has been providing shelter and support services for women and children in Peel Region who face violence. In that time, Interim Place has assisted well over 38,000 women and children find safety, heal and build new lives free of abuse.
Interim Place’s goal is to end violence against women through responsive, accessible services and supports; public education; and action and advocacy to address the social, economic and political conditions that create violence in the lives of women and children. All of Interim Place’s services are free and confidential. They include:
- Shelter services
- Crisis support and counseling services for women and children
- Safety planning
- Information and referral assistance in areas such as housing, income support and employment training
- Support and advocacy with legal matters including Family, Criminal, Landlord and Tenant, Criminal Injuries, Workers Compensation, Employment Insurance, Income Support Appeals, and Immigration Law Assistance
- Social, recreational, and educational groups and programs for women and children
- Practical assistance and help with obtaining food, clothing, legal documentation, healthcare, and daycare
One of the statistics that I have personally been impacted by while working in the area of violence against women is that Interim Place (where I volunteer in Peel Region) operates 2 shelters that house a total of 54 beds for women and their children fleeing violence…and those shelters almost always operate at capacity. This is in addition to the hundreds of women that access community outreach programs but do not come to stay at a shelter. The need for support is undeniable.
It is also important to note that violence against women is taking place at an alarming rate globally. Amnesty International reports that at least one out of every three women has been beaten, forced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime. The World Health Organization has reported that up to 70% of female murder victims are killed by their male partners. Compounding these statistics are the statistics on the number of children that are impacted by this violence.
While these statistics tell a difficult story, we are coming to a more fulsome understanding of the factors that affect the prevalence of violence against women, and local, national, and international organizations are committed to ensuring that effective prevention initiatives and response services are in place. With awareness and action, the realities of women facing violence can change.
It is extremely difficult to comprehensively quantify the socio-economic impact of violence against women. We do know that women victims of violence are almost twice as likely as male victims to be physically injured and six times more likely to seek medical attention. In Statistics Canada’s 2006 Report, “Measuring Violence Against Women”, it was reported that 29% of women that experienced spousal violence took time off from their daily activities; 13% received medical attention; 10% were hospitalized; and 34% feared for their lives. It was also reported that over a 5 year period, 258,000 Canadian children were aware of spousal violence against their mother: in half of the incidents witnessed by children the woman was injured and in half of the incidents the woman feared her life was in danger. Children who grow up in families where there is intimate partner violence may suffer a range of behavioural and emotional disturbances that can be associated with the perpetration or experiencing of violence later in life. In addition, intimate partner violence has also been associated with higher rates of infant and child mortality and morbidity. (Source: World Health Organization)
The economic impact of violence against women in Canada was estimated in one study to be as high as $4.2 billion annually when criminal justice, compensation, medical costs, the costs of shelters and other services, and lost productivity were taken into account.
There are many other important impacts that are extremely difficult to measure such as the psychological effects of violence against women and the lost potential of women to have positive socio-economic impact when they are focused on issues of safety and security for themselves and their children.