Government Cuts Have Led to an Increase in Violence Against Women in OntarioMonday, July 26 2010
Government Cuts Have Led to an Increase in Violence Against Women in Ontario
On September 30, 2000, the Ontario government refused to sign the Declaration of Commitment to take action on violence against women.
SINCE 1995 the current provincial government has made cuts to housing supports, childcare, legal aid, disability and income supports. These cuts have resulted in an increase in women's vulnerability to violence in their homes, workplaces and on the streets.
It's not just the dramatic and more obvious cuts to women's services that have contributed to increased numbers of women killed and abused by former and current partners. Women bear the brunt of government attacks on the poor, on healthcare, on immigrants, on education, on childcare and on labour as they struggle to pay the rent and feed the kids.
More police officers and more courtrooms will not help women to prevent violence; but will take away scarce funds from the social supports they do need. Ontario women are now more economically insecure than ever, and are less able to escape the brutality within their homes.
Government Cuts Are Killing Us!
Cuts and Inaction
A total of $9 million annualized funding was cut from women's shelters (5.5% cut) and second stage housing (eliminated) in July of 1995. That equals seven fiscal years times $9 million for a total of $63 million «saved» from direct services for women.
- Failed to implement recommendations from two inquests (Hadley, May-Iles) dealing with violence against women by intimate partners.
- Downloaded the cost of provincial social housing programs to municipalities. Cancelled new housing supply programs in 1995. Removed rent control.
- Cut childcare spending by $100 million from 1995-96, and threatened to cut an additional $200 million. In 2000 diverted a $2.2 billion federal transfer specifically slated for parental services and daycare. Eliminated funding for non-profit childcare spaces and for childcare spaces in new schools. Continues to claw back the child benefit from women on welfare.
- Laid off 26,000 hospital workers since 1995, including nurses. Privatized home care. Cut off thousands of senior women from home support services in 2002. Delisted $100 million of OHIP services, meaning Ontarians pay more out-of-pocket medical expenses than other Canadians.
- Cut social assistance by 21.6 % and froze the minimum wage at the 1995 level. Introduced the 60-hour work week. Denied welfare recipients access to OSAP. Ignored the Kimberly Rogers inquest recommendations on social assistance reform.
- Cut family law legal aid certificates by 75% in 1996 (later increased, but not to the original level). Legal aid certificate hours have been capped and many women are left representing themselves in family courts.
Effects on Women
- Since June of 1995, at least 160 women have been murdered by their intimate partners in Ontario. These are only those women reported in major media.
- 21 children have been murdered with them, and 8 family members or friends.
- The number of men accused of killing their current wife or ex-wife in Canada rose 25% from 2000 to 2001, with «virtually all of this increase occurring in Ontario.
- Last year (2002) 34,588 abused women and their children stayed in women's emergency shelters in Ontario - 34% of all women and children taking refuge in shelters in Canada.
- An average of 40 women per year are murdered by male partners in Ontario
- Kimberly Rogers, over 8 months pregnant, died in her home after being sentenced to house arrest for the «crime » of receiving social assistance & OSAP (allowable until 1995).
The Time is NOW .... Vote For Women's Equality!
The Cross-sectoral Violence Against Women Strategy Group (CSVAWSG) represents a wide variety of local and provincial women's groups who have come together to develop and sustain a broad cross-sectoral response to the issue of violence against women.
Join us in the campaign. For more information and/or to obtain the sources for the above information, please email Doris Rajan at firstname.lastname@example.org