Magazine article Herizons

Women's Deaths Linked to Cutbacks

Magazine article Herizons

Women's Deaths Linked to Cutbacks

Article excerpt

(Montreal) Spousal murders of women registered as a major social phenomenon in September when Statistics Canada reported that the number of Canadian men accused of killing a current or ex-partner rose from 52 in 2000 to 69 in 2001, a 32 percent increase.

Virtually all of the increase occurred in Ontario. Crisis workers were quick to connect women's vulnerability to social service cutbacks begun under former premier Mike Harris. Since 1995, social assistance rates have been reduced 30 percent, legal aid certificates have been cut 75 percent, second-stage shelter program funding has been eliminated and emergency shelter waiting lists are at crisis levels.

Eileen Morrow, coordinator of the Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Housing says that the cuts are a contributing factor.

"Women can't leave if there's nowhere to go and no way to look after their children," she explained.

In an open letter to B.C. women protesting massive cuts by the Gordon Campbell administration following the release of the Stats Can report, Morrow said, "Our worst fears about the impacts of all these cuts have come true. It is no surprise that when the conditions and support women need to escape violence are removed, there will be dire consequences."

Vancouver Rape Relief staffer Suzanne Jay predicted that similar cuts to legal aid, restrictions on welfare and cuts to advocacy centres will cost some B.C. women their lives. "We won't wait for women to die," she said.

Meanwhile in Quebec, feminist and pro-feminist activists put up a large poster of `Women and Children Murdered by Men Since Dec. …

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