Stats Can numbers show intimate partner violence rates in Sask. double that of national average

Recent numbers from Statistics Canada show a rather disturbing trend for Saskatchewan.

According to the numbers, Saskatchewan’s rate of intimate partner violence is more than double the national average, in addition to having the highest rate of domestic homicide per capita.

Crystal Giesbrecht with the Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services of Saskatchewan (PATHS) says, unfortunately, the numbers didn’t come as a shock.

“It’s upsetting, and it’s frustrating, but it’s not surprising because this has been consistent,” said Giesbrecht. “This isn’t a fluke year where we see our rates being so much higher, Saskatchewan has consistently been over double the national average for many years now.”

She says the most concerning part of the numbers is knowing how many incidents go unreported.

Giesbrecht adds many people try to go it alone, rather than reaching out for help.

“There’s many people who just choose to try to end the relationship, but not to formally report,” said Giesbrecht. “All of this information tells us that we know that the rate is in fact much higher than those numbers from Statistics Canada, and the problem is even worse.”

Giesbrecht says during the COVID-19 pandemic, there was not only an increase in the amount of crisis calls, but there were unprecedented challenges for those trying to escape domestic violence.

She says there’s no “miracle cure” for intimate partner violence but making sure everyone has the support they need is crucial.

“The biggest challenge is that no two situations are the same, and the same solution doesn’t work for everyone,” said Giesbrecht. “We need ways to keep people who are experiencing violence safe in their own communities because we are a very rural province, and it’s not always possible for someone to travel to an urban centre to a shelter or to get services.”

Giesbrecht says another thing that needs to change is public attitude towards intimate partner violence, adding society still accepts violence and don’t take the warning signs seriously.

If you, or someone you know, is in a violent situation, information on support programs can be found on the PATHS website.

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