Police Put Out Advice for People Suffering with Abuse in Mississauga
While domestic violence is a problem in every part of the world, this year has been a particularly difficult one in Peel (Brampton and Mississauga).
In the fall, 47-year-old Mississauga woman Linda Santos was found dead in her condo. According to police, she was murdered by her partner. Her husband, 56-year-old Ross Ingberg, committed suicide the same day Santos’ body was discovered.
The murder capped off what's already been an alarming year for fatal domestic violence incidents in Peel.
By March of this year, five Brampton and Mississauga women had been reportedly killed by family members and romantic partners. In less than three months, Baljit Thandi, 32, Avtar Kaur, 60, Elaine Bellevue, 61, Hoden Said, 30 and Alicia Lewandowski, 25 all succumbed to injuries sustained in alleged attacks by men they knew.
The statistics on violence against women are troubling.
Data from the Canadian Women’s Foundation indicates that half of all Canadian women have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16. The foundation also says that, each year, Canadians collectively spend $7.4 billion to deal with the aftermath of spousal violence alone.
That figure, taken from the Department of Justice, says that those costs include emergency room visits, loss of income and funerals.
The foundation says that 67 per cent of Canadians say they have personally known at least one woman who has experienced physical or sexual abuse. It also says one woman is killed by her intimate partner every six days in Canada.
“Out of the 83 police-reported intimate partner homicides in 2014, 67 of the victims—over 80 per cent—were women,” the foundation’s website reads. “On any given night in Canada, 3,491 women and their 2,724 children sleep in shelters because it isn’t safe at home.”
Because of these incidents—and the ones that may not garner quite as much attention—police are advising residents to take action if they’re being abused.
Peel Regional Police have provided some information to first help you identify whether you’re in an abusive relationship and what you can do about it.
According to police, the key to stopping abuse is recognizing the signs and preventing it before it starts. You may be in an abusive relationship if you answer yes to any of these statements:
Do You Feel?
You are being treated as a child, servant or possession.
Powerless and embarrassed.
Afraid of your partner.
That you deserve to be hurt or mistreated.
Does Your Partner?
Treat you like a possession or sex object.
Make decisions for you and the family, telling you what to do and expects you to obey.
Use insults, name-calling and public put-downs.
Stop you from seeing friends and family, keeps you from going out, and constantly checks up on you.
Threaten to hurt/kill you or the children.
Threaten to commit suicide or file charges against you.
Break things in front of you, hurt pets or put weapons on display to scare you.
Blame you for their behaviour, or blame their childhood; they may deny it has occurred or say they were having a bad day as an excuse.
If you do believe you are in such a relationship based on these criteria, the police have outlined the following steps they will take once you’ve contacted them for help:
Conduct a thorough investigation.
Advise victims that police will lay charges when reasonable grounds exist.
Gather evidence; obtain statements, take photos of the scene or injuries.
Bring interpreters if needed.
Provide support for children.
Provide a Safety Plan when appropriate.
Provide information on available victim services.
Remain until there is no further threat to victim.
Where charges are not laid, will give advice on Restraining Orders, Peace Bonds and how to contact shelters and Victim Services of Peel.
Safe Places to Seek Help
Anyone who believes they are the victim or potential victim of domestic violence should contact the police as soon as possible. In the meantime, there are a variety of avenues that people can take to get help, seek shelter or obtain services, such as:
Armagh House - Second-stage housing programme.
Family Life Resource Centre (Salvation Army Shelter) - Offers short-term emergency shelters.
Legal Resources and Services
Services for Children
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