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Recent tragic deaths shine a light on domestic violence

They’re unrelated homicide scenes that have taken place in and around the GTA, but they share one very frightening commonality.

Since the start of the year, there have been a number of deaths alleged to be domestic homicides that have included women, their children and relatives.

In January, a 32-year-old woman and her 60-year-old mother were found with fatal stab wounds in their Brampton home. Hours later and, in an unrelated case, Peel police were called to a Brampton home where a 61-year-old woman was stabbed to death.

The most recent incident took place in Ajax earlier this week, where a 39-year-old woman and her two kids, aged 13 and 15, were killed. Police have charged a man believed to be in a relationship with the mother, with three counts of second degree murder.

These tragic deaths and a series of others have shined a light on domestic violence, and many are questioning if the number of incidents are on the rise.

The Barbara Schlifer Clinic offers support to women who have experienced any form of abuse. The Executive Director says it’s too early to tell if domestic violence is on the rise, however there has been an increase in victims and survivors visiting the clinic. In previous years, they had 4,700 clients. This year they expect that number to rise to 7,000.

Preliminary figures from Ontario’s Chief Coroner’s Office show there were 49 domestic related deaths in the province in 2015, and 35 the following year. Numbers for 2017 and 2018 are not available as the investigation to confirm domestic violence related deaths can take more than one year.

Number of Domestic Violence Related Deaths in Ontario

AGE RANGE 2015 2016
0 – 19 2 1
20 – 29 5 5
30 – 39 9 6
40 – 49 10 8
50 – 59 13 7
60 – 69 4 2
70 + 6 6

*Source: Office of the Chief Coroner & Ontario Forensic Pathology Service

Earlier this month the province announced it would be investing funding in a new strategy that would address gender-based violence, one of those focuses will include improving the justice system response for survivors.