Researchers launch website aimed at preventing domestic homicide

Researchers at Western University, in collaboration with the University of Guelph, have launched a new website, taking an important step in developing a national strategy to prevent domestic homicides.

Designed for researchers, community organizations and government policy makers, the new Canadian Domestic Homicide Prevention Initiative website features research reports, educational materials, learning and training opportunities, annual reports from Domestic Violence Death Review Committees (DVDRCs) across Canada and internationally, and other resources associated with domestic homicide prevention. The initiative is co-directed by researchers Peter Jaffe at Western University and Myrna Dawson at the University of Guelph.

Ontario created the first Canadian Domestic Violence Death Review Committee in 2002 and has reviewed 164 homicides in the last decade. Jaffe and Dawson are both members of this committee. Four other provinces have also established similar committees and review processes (New Brunswick, Manitoba, British Columbia, Alberta).

"This website will bring together these initiatives to create a national dialogue and foster more information sharing and collaboration across Canada," said Peter Jaffe, Director of the Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children and Professor of Education at Western University. "It will not only enhance research efforts, but will help make better informed policy and service delivery decisions to help prevent domestic homicides."

According to the most recent numbers from Statistics Canada, intimate partner homicide continues to make up the majority of family-related homicides (43%) and women are consistently at greater risk than men regardless of age group.

"The vast majority of these homicides are predictable and preventable based on the number of risk factors known to professionals, friends, family and co-workers in many of these tragedies," said Dr. William Lucas, Deputy Chief Coroner and Chair of Ontario's Domestic Violence Death Review Committee (Ontario DVDRC).

The Ontario DVDRC's annual report, released earlier this month, reviewed 20 domestic homicides and found an average of 10 identifiable risk factors present in these cases.

"Similar to the rise of death reviews, the launch of this website is a clear indicator that these crimes can no longer be explained away as spontaneous crimes of passion, but are now more accurately recognized as acts that can often be prevented and it is the collaborative efforts by multiple groups evident on this website that will continue to improve our prevention initiatives," said Myrna Dawson, Director of the Centre for the Study of Social and Legal Responses to Violence at the University of Guelph.

This project is funded by the Canadian Women's Foundation.

"We are thrilled to support this important work of bringing together key research and data into one central location to ensure that the best resources are available to those working on the issues of violence against women," said Anu Dugal, Director, Violence Prevention, Canadian Women's Foundation. "This important tool will help in the ongoing work of preventing domestic homicide, one of the most predictable and preventable types of homicide. We are saving lives with this work."

More information: For more information on the Ontario DVDRC Annual Report visit www.mcscs.jus.gov.on.ca/stelle… ebasset/ec165340.pdf

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