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MPPs pass second reading of bill declaring intimate partner violence an epidemic


A bill to declare intimate partner violence an epidemic has passed its second reading at Queen’s Park late Wednesday.

According to the Ontario NDP, “This is a welcome first step – but it’s far from the end of the line. We had almost 200 advocates, survivors, and front-line workers join us today at Queen’s Park, and they have been crystal clear in their demands. The time for action is now. The time for believing and supporting survivors of intimate partner violence is now. We don’t need more half-measures or studies. The work has been done. The Ontario NDP and people across Ontario have spoken. It’s time for Ford to finally take this seriously.”

“The ask is that the Government of Ontario shall recognize that intimate partner violence is an epidemic in Ontario,” stated Windsor West MPP Lisa Gretzky at a morning news conference.

She was joined by three other NDP legislators, including London West MPP Peggy Sattler.

Sattler said the passing of Bill 173, the Intimate Partner Violence Epidemic Act, would be a declaration to act on the crisis.

“Just as we did in COVID. And look at how we were able to mobilize resources, ministries, change policies, and swing into action,” Sattler added.

Already, at least 94 Ontario municipalities, including London and Windsor, have declared intimate partner violence an epidemic.

Sattler said many are responding to violent acts in their own communities.

In London, she believes the 2023 death of Caitlin Jennings sparked city hall to act.

London West MPP Peggy Sattler (left) watches on as Windsor West MPP Lisa Gretzky speaks during a news conference at Queen’s Park. April 10, 2024. (Source: Ontario Parliament) At Queen’s Park, the mother of a Windsor woman killed in an alleged act of intimate partner violence pleaded with Premier Ford to strengthen resources.

Fartumo Kusow stated that 52 members of her family continue to grieve the loss of her daughter Sahra Bulle.

“From a 90-year-old grandmother to a three-year-old nephew,” Kusow said.

She said each family member was impacted by not only her daughter’s death but by violence allegedly committed for years before her passing.

“Every black eye she came home with. Every attempt where she tried to rescue herself, or allowing us to rescue her, impacted us,” said Kusow.

Bill 173 includes recommendations called for in the 2022 Renfrew inquest report.

Declaring intimate partner violence as an epidemic was its number one recommendation.

By failing to act, the NDP accuses the Ford Government of not “doing the right thing."

“How many more lives must be taken before the Ontario government recognizes the epidemic proportion of this violence?” said Erin Lee, an executive director of a Lanark County women’s emergency shelter. Top Stories

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