Intimate partner violence ‘epidemic’ in Mississauga and Brampton called out by councillors following murder charges

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Published June 20, 2023 at 11:20 am

The rise in intimate partner violence in Brampton including an alleged murder caught on camera has the city’s only female councillors taking steps to end intimate partner violence in the city and calls for the Region, Ottawa, and lawmakers to do more.

Davinder Kaur died on May 19 after police say she was repeatedly stabbed in Brampton’s Sparrow Park by Nav Nishan Singh, who sources say was Kaur’s estranged husband.

Part of the alleged murder was recorded and posted online, and the incident is at least the third suspected femicide of a South Asian woman from Peel since September.

Kaur’s death has led activists to call on the Region of Peel to declare gender-based violence an epidemic, and Brampton Councillors Navjit Kaur Brar and Rowena Santos are joining that call with a motion going to a Committee of Council on Wednesday (June 21).

Davinder Kaur was stabbed and killed in Brampton on May 19, 2023. (GoFundMe)

“There are 24 municipalities and regions across Ontario that have already declared a gender-based violence and/or intimate partner violence epidemic and the City of Brampton wants to take a stand and advocate with these municipalities to push the Province of Ontario to officially recognize a gender-based violence and/or intimate partner violence epidemic at the provincial level,” Coun. Brar said in an email to Insauga.com.

If passed, the motion would see the city declare gender-based violence an epidemic in Brampton and send requests to Ottawa to have Femicide added to the Criminal Code of Canada, as well as ask both the provincial and federal governments for additional support in addressing the issue.

The city will also call on the Region of Peel Council and the province to follow suit in taking a stand against gender-based and intimate partner violence. 

Data from Peel Regional Police says that some 78 per cent of intimate partner violence victims are women. Police received 17,000 calls related to family and intimate violence in 2021 alone and saw a 3.5 per cent increase in the rate of intimate partner violence between 2016 and 2021.

The Peel Committee Against Women Abuse (PCAWA) says there were 52 women in Ontario killed as a result of gender-based violence in 2022, averaging out to one woman killed every week in the year. PCAWA says it also plans to ask Peel Regional Council to declare a femicide epidemic in the region, sending a message to the community and the province “that Peel recognizes the imminent issue of intimate-partner and gender-based violence and are committed to taking action.”

While Kaur’s death has been the lightning rod for the call to action, two other South Asian women have been killed in violent and public incidents in the region in less than a year.

Pawanpreet Kaur, 21, was shot to death on Dec. 3 as she worked at a Mississauga gas station. (Photo: Peel Regional Police)

In September, 22-year-old Chandanpreet Kaur was stabbed and killed at a busy Mississauga Canadian Tire. Police have charged her husband Charanjeet Singh with first-degree murder.

And in December, Brampton woman Pawanpreet Kaur was shot and killed while working at the Petro-Canada gas station in Mississauga. Dharam Singh Dhaliwal is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for first-degree murder in her death.

Survivors of violence or those in need of support can contact Embrave’s 24-hour crisis line by calling 905-403-0864 or 1-855-676-8515. You can also seek support from one of the PCAWA member agencies.

The motion for Brar and Santos will be heard at the Brampton Committee of Council meeting on Wednesday.

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