Councillor calls for a cultural shift as Quinte West sheds light on intimate partner violence

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Quinte West’s Skyway Bridge will light up orange tonight (Nov. 25) to recognize those suffering from intimate partner violence.

Gender-based and partner violence was recently declared an epidemic by the council of Quinte West and in other municipalities across Canada. The bridge will light up orange between Nov. 25 and Dec. 10 as part of the Orange the World campaign in recognition of the growing number of people, particularly women and girls, suffering from domestic violence.

According to the Three Oaks Foundation, the number of those being abused at the hands of their partner has continued to increase throughout the country, including in Quinte West.

“Last year 58 women were killed in Ontario and in Canada 184 women and girls were killed by violence, which is a concerning increase from 148 women and girls killed in 2019” Amy Dufresne from Three Oaks Foundation told Quinte West council on Oct. 18.

Dufrense stated that Hastings and Prince Edward Public Health conducted a public safety review and found the rates of domestic violence in the area are 52 per cent higher than in Kingston, and 47 per cent higher than in Ontario as a whole.

“Last year we served 638 victims of intimate partner violence, and 30 per cent of those were from Quinte West,” Leah Morgan of Victim Services Hastings, Prince Edward, Lennox & Addington added.

Councillor Zack Card told Quinteist it’s time to see eradicating abuse as a community effort, which should not be lost behind closed doors.

“I believe a cultural shift needs to happen where we feel more comfortable involving ourselves. We must recognize that, for many different reasons, not every victim is in a position to advocate for themselves. Uncertainty and inaction can be caused by PTSD, fear, and many other factors – and it doesn’t mean there isn’t abuse occurring.”

Card added that raising awareness in the community holds people accountable and encourages them to recognize when someone they know might be trapped in an abusive situation.

“When we don’t turn away from difficult situations, when we treat all accusations seriously, when we make it our problem, then we’ll have the right mindset to help everyone who needs it. Then we can focus on getting all victims to safety, connecting them and dependents with resources, treating them with care and dignity, and holding abusers accountable.”

If you are suffering from intimate partner violence, or know someone who is struggling, call 9-1-1, or reach out to local organizations like the Three Oaks Foundation or Victim Services Hastings, Prince Edward, Lennox & Addington.

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