There was a stark reminder of how pervasive gender violence is from London City Hall on Monday night.

Two agencies that advocate on behalf of women, the London Abused Women’s Centre and Anova, went before the Strategic Priorities and Policy Committee with a request to make gender violence a pillar in the city’s strategic priorities.

And members of the committee recounted their own tragic encounters with the issue, including Ward 12 Councillor Elizabeth Peloza.

“From someone's cousin, whose cousin had to sleep in fear because her partner would keep a knife on the nightstand and say, ‘Tonight might be the night I just have to use it.’ To someone who has also suffered abuse themselves from a prior partner, I do think it is important that we separate these issues out.”

Mayor Ed Holder also recounted his own loss as the result of gender violence, “Having had my eldest sister who was brutally abused by her partner and then ultimately killed, there is my bias right there.”

The new policy, which sets a goal of ending violence against women and girls received unanimous support.

Some council members expressed concern about some of the wording, specifically a reference to London as a 'sex trafficking hub.'

City staff will consult with the agencies about suitable wording for the final document.

If approved by council on April 23rd London will be the first city in Canada to single out gender violence in its strategic plan.