Milton declares intimate partner violence an epidemic

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Published November 1, 2023 at 12:44 pm

domestic violence

The Town of Milton has joined its Halton Region neighbours in declaring intimate partner violence an epidemic.

Ward 4 Councillor Sameera Ali’s motion received unanimous support at Council Monday. With more than 3,5000 intimate partner calls to Halton Region Police last year – an increase of 27 per cent from seven years prior – and another 2,342 calls made to Women’s Shelter Crisis/Helpline, Ali called domestic violence a “pervasive and troubling issue” in Milton and around the world.

With Halton Police estimating more than two-thirds of intimate partner violence goes unreported the numbers are even starker and show that Milton and Halton Region are not immune to domestic violence.

“Awareness is the first step towards preventing and addressing this problem.” Ali said. “By understanding the root causes, advocating for change, and supporting survivors, we can break the silence surrounding IPV and work towards fostering healthy relationships, free from violence and fear.”

Halton Police Inspector Crystal Dodds spoke to Halton Council in June and called the numbers “alarming.

“We need to understand and acknowledge that these statistics really speak to only what’s been reported,” said Dodds. “Sadly, Intimate Partner Violence is largely unreported … 70 per cent of our survivors are not even calling us.”

Halton police have a full unit dedicated to IPV with 24 full time investigators and have fostered strong relationships with the Children’s Aid Society, Halton Women’s Place and Halton Violence Prevention Council. Police laid 2.100 charges last year and made nearly a thousand arrests.

Still the numbers continue to increase. Already in 2023, they have responded to nearly 2,000 calls.

With a woman is killed in Ontario by her intimate partner every six days, Ali’s motion also asked the Province to declare intimate partner violence an epidemic.

The declarations in Milton and around Ontario stem from a triple murder that happened September 22, 2015 in Renfrew County (north of Ottawa) when Carol Culleton, Anastasia Kuzyk and Nathalie Warmerdam were all killed by the same man who had a known history of violence against women.

A jury that adjudicated the inquest into their murders issued 86 recommendations, many of them sweeping, to the Province on Intimate Partner Violence.

The No. 1 recommendation of the Inquest is for the provincial government to declare Intimate Partner Violence an epidemic.

Intimate partner violence, also known as domestic violence, includes the use or threat of physical or sexual force, including emotional or psychological abuse, or harassing/threatening behaviour directed between partners with whom there is (or has been) an intimate relationship.

With intimate partner violence, the offence can range in severity from a slap to a homicide. These crimes are often part of a pattern of assaultive and or controlling behaviour, such as financial control and social isolation. Threats can often include harming other family members, pets, and property. The violence is used to intimidate, humiliate, or frighten the victims and make them feel powerless.

Halton Police wants women to know they are not alone. Victims of intimate partner violence or sexual assault and witnesses are encouraged to contact police or one of the support services and resources in the Region, including:

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