Executive Summary, pages 7 and 8:
"The Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability (CFOJA) is the sole Canadian initiative responding to the United Nations call to establish femicide observatories1 to more comprehensively and accurately document gender-related killings of women and girls or ‘femicide’. The CFOJA mandate is to establish a visible and national focus on femicide in Canada by: (1) documenting femicides as they occur in Canada; and, (2) monitoring state, legal and social responses to these killings.
This is the CFOJA’s inaugural one-year report focusing on women and girls killed by violence in Canada from January 1 to December 31, 2018.
Section I discusses the evolution of the term ‘femicide’ internationally and in the Canadian context. For the latter, three key turning points are highlighted: (1) the mass femicide at École Polytechnique, Université of Montréal in 1989; (2) early research on intimate femicide in Ontario by the Women We Honour Action Committee; and (3) grassroots initiatives that drew national and international attention to missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. The section concludes with a description of the definitional parameters for femicide adopted by the CFOJA.
Section II focuses on all women and girls killed by violence in Canada in 2018 which were identified through media reports. Some highlights are as follows:
- In 2018, 148 women and girls were killed by violence in Canada. On average, every 2.5 days one woman or girl is killed in this country – a consistent trend for four decades.
- The highest rate of killing of women and girls wasin Nunavut followed by the Yukon, New Brunswick and Manitoba. The lowest rate was in Quebec followed by British Columbia and Nova Scotia.
- Indigenous women and girls were overrepresented as victims, comprising about five percent of the population in Canada, but 36 percent of those women and girls who were killed by violence.
- Approximately 34 percent of women and girls were killed in rural areas whereas only about 16 percent of the population in Canada lives in rural areas.
- Women and girls aged 25-34 years were overrepresented as victims: 27 percent of those killed, but only 14 percent of the population.
- The most common method used when a woman or girl was killed was shooting (34%) followed by stabbing (28%) and beating (24%)
- Approximately 11 percent of the accused committed suicide following the killing – all of whom were male.
- Where an accused has been identified, 91% are male accused, consistent with national and international patterns.
Section III focuses on cases involving the killing of women and girls by male accused. Three types of femicide are focused upon in particular: (1) intimate femicide; (2) familial femicide; and (3) non-intimate femicide (i.e. perpetrated by male acquaintances and strangers). This section also introduces five gender-based motives/indicators for femicide: (1) misogyny; (2) sexual violence; (3) coercive-controlling behaviours, including jealousy and stalking; (4) separation/estrangement; and (5) overkill.
Some highlights related to the most common type of femicide – intimate femicide – are as follows:
- Like global patterns, the home is the most dangerous place for women and girls with 53% killed by male partners and another 13 percent killed by other male family members. The remainder were killed by male strangers (21%) or acquaintances (13%).
- Intimate femicide victims in both Ontario (45%) and Alberta (16%) are overrepresented slightly relative to the proportion of Canadian women living in those jurisdictions (39% and 11% respectively). Intimate femicide victims in Quebec (10%) were underrepresented compared to the proportion of women living in that province (23%).
- A higher proportion of intimate femicide involved visible minority women compared to their representation in the population in contrast to the total sample of women and girls killed where they were underrepresented as victims when information on race/ethnicity was known.
- Examining relationship status, the largest proportion of victim and accused were common-law partners (38%), followed closely by those who were legally married (36%) and then dating (27%). One in five of the intimate femicide victims were separated from the accused (22%).
- Like the total sample, shooting was the most common method in intimate femicides (35%).
- A higher proportion of accused committed suicide following the intimate femicide (27% compared to 11% of the total sample of women and girls killed by violence).
Section IV discusses some current and emerging research priorities for informed prevention. We focus first on situational factors that have emerged as more common in the 2018 cases: (1) intimacy; (2) rurality; (3) firearms; and (4) collateral victims. We then turn to various socio-demographic factors that were common in the 2018 cases or appeared in cases that highlighted groups of victims that may be more at risk of femicide, but for whom there has been little research attention. These include: (1) Indigenous women and girls; (2) immigrant women and girls; (3) older women; and (4) women and girls with disabilities.
Section V discusses future research planned by the CFOJA that will focus on the broader community- or societal-level factors that research has shown can work to facilitate, or prevent, male violence against women, including problematic attitudes, beliefs and stereotypes that impede prevention efforts. The three arenas examined will be: (1) the media; (2) the criminal justice system, particularly the courts; and, finally, (3) the legislative and policy contexts. All three arenas can play a powerful role in challenging, or entrenching, problematic attitudes, beliefs and stereotypes that work to perpetuate and maintain men’s violence against women and girls.
Section VI remembers all women and girls killed by violence in Canada in 2018. We include quotes throughout the report from family members and friends impacted by their deaths as one way of showing their lost potential and ongoing impacts on those they leave behind due to femicide.
The CFOJA research is ongoing. Early in 2019, we will complete data collection for women and girls killed by violence in Canada in 2016 and 2017. We will continue to document femicides of women and girls in our country for earlier years. We also continue to collect information on male homicides for comparative purposes. Therefore, future reports will aim: (1) to describe trends and patterns in femicide over time; (2) to compare the characteristics and circumstances surrounding femicide to that of homicide involving male victims; and (3) to identify and monitor current and emerging themes in femicide, including priorities for research and prevention."