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Femicides on the rise as report indicates a woman or girl is killed every 48 hours in Canada

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Cases of homicide among women and girls, known as femicides, are rapidly increasing across Canada as one report details more than 800 women and girls have been killed since 2018.

The Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability (CFOJA) released their annual report on Thursday detailing the harrowing rise of violent deaths among women and girls between 2018 and 2022 in Canada.

According to the report, 850 women and girls have been killed in the last five years, equating to a single woman or girl being killed every 48 hours. Additionally, between 2019 and 2022 there was a 27 per cent increase of deaths from male suspects.

While not all the deaths had identified accusers, 82 per cent among the identified were male while 18 per cent involved female suspects. One of the most common cases of femicide involved intimate-partner violence, followed by familial femicide and non-intimate femicide.

Women aged 24 to 34 often made up the largest or second largest age-range for victims, however the average age for a woman killed by a male accused is 42-years-old, while the average age for the male accusers is 37-years-old. The report also estimates one in five female victims killed by a male accused were Indigenous, about 19 per cent. Among the victims, a total of 868 children were left without mothers

Advocates have been calling for Canada to recognize femicides in the Criminal Code of Canada, or be implemented in legislation to provide legal protection to women and girls, especially those who are Indigenous, Black and a part of other racialized communities.

“We really wanted to address the issue so there would be better understanding publicly,” CFOJA founder Myrna Dawson said in a news release.

According to the report, 22 countries have the term femicide implemented in some legislature or use the term to classify certain offences. Canada also has yet to sign a global treaty that aims to create initiatives to investigate and eliminate femicide, despite committing to do so in 2018, the report states. Out of the 35 countries that made this commitment, Canada is one of three that have yet to fulfill it.

“This is one example of how Canada lags behind other countries in its response to male violence against women and girls,” Dawson said.

Recently, the Mass Casualty Commission (MCC) report, investigating the 2020 Nova Scotia mass shooting, recommended in its report the government declare gender-based violence an epidemic after it was found the gunman had been reportedly abusive and controlling to his spouse and women around him.

“Women have been carrying, through community-based organizations, the burden of protecting women almost exclusively for far too long,” MCC commissioner Michael MacDonald said to reporters Thursday, while urging men -- especially men in positions -- of power to call out gender-based violence.

“Men who are leaders in society have to call it out for what it is, it’s an epidemic," he said.

With files from CTV News Atlantic. 

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