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Ombudsman’s statement on Femicide

September 6, 2019

As the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime, one of my priorities is to raise awareness of the systemic issues that contribute to Gender-Based Violence. During the first six months of 2019, 60 women/girls were killed by violence in 58 incidents across Canada, according to the Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability , because they are female.

In Canada, we continue to call inquests into the murders of women. While these inquests are vital to shed light on the failings of various criminal and social responses, they are unlikely to unveil new information. We have so much evidence available to us from previous inquests and recommendations about how to prevent these killings. Yet, we fail to effectively heed the recommendations.  

It is time for a national Action Plan on the issue of femicides. At the OFOVC, we believe part of this action plan must include the full implementation of the Calls for Justice that emerged from the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, given that Indigenous women are six times more likely to experience violent victimization than any other female demographic in Canada. These Calls for Justice  include vital changes to the criminal justice system that would transform the way offenders of intimate partner violence are treated. They would help to ensure that known abusers with a pattern of intimate-partner violence could not continue to behave in predictable ways. They could not continue to commit these preventable tragedies. They would help keep victims safe from violence.

I am calling for leadership across all levels of government in order to meaningfully empower girls and young women, to promote equality for all women and to confront stereotypes and biases about violence against women, as part of a national Action Plan, which we know can help prevent femicide.


Heidi Illingworth
Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime