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Intimate partner violence reaching 'epidemic' status

Victoria Leddy has convinced her new hometown of Goderich, Ont. that intimate partner violence is an epidemic, growing in numbers, each and every day.

“It is an epidemic. It is an increasing problem. Not just in Ontario, but across Canada and the US. It’s escalating,” said the mother of three.

58 women have been killed by men in Ontario this year alone, said Leddy. It’s the highest number of femicides she’s aware of ever in the province.

“It’s higher than it was last year. It’s higher that it was during the pandemic, and it’s going to keep increasing,” she said.

In Huron County alone, intimate partner violence is constant source of calls for local police -- 652 occurrences to date this year. That’s already higher than every previous year, and a huge jump from the 415 intimate partner violence occurrences in 2010.

With those numbers in her pocket, Leddy was able to convince Goderich Town Council to join the growing list of Ontario municipalities to declare intimate partner violence an epidemic.

There were 55 municipalities on that list on Nov. 9 and 72 as of Wednesday.

Leddy and supporters, like Susan Taylor, who’s been a gender-based violence counsellor and advocate for 23 years, said the time has passed to push this conversation under the rug, because one-in-three Canadian women will experience gender-based violence in their lifetime.

“You know somebody who is suffering in this space. You know people who are perpetrating this. Don’t stand by and not say something. Do something. Name it. Call it out,” said Taylor.

Leddy, who just opened Evermore Ontario a few months ago from her Goderich home, offers court support, advocacy and education to women and children trying to leave abusive households. As part of Evermore’s 16 days of activism around this issue, she is profiling the 58 Ontario femicide victims on her website, to shine a light on a dark subject, not yet openly discussed in “polite” and “private” society.

“Rather than these individuals being just a statistic, or a number, it humanizes them. It makes people think and relate,” said Leddy.

“We want this to be more than just a day, or a moment. We want to make it a constant conversation, because it’s really impactful. It’s devastating. It’s pervasive, and it’s increasing,” added Taylor.

You can learn more about intimate partner violence and the events Leddy has planned during her 16 days of activism by visiting Evermore Ontario’s website.

The Huron Domestic Assault Review Team also tracks and deals with intimate partner violence in the region. Top Stories

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