Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres: Our condolences to those affected by the violent attack in Nova Scotia, Canada (April 18-19, 2020)

Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres (OCRCC) stands in solidarity with the communities of Nova Scotia, Canada. We were saddened to learn of the violent attack that has left many individuals, families and communities grieving and frightened. We extend our sincere condolences to all those impacted by the attack on April 18-19, 2020.

We also now know that the violence experienced by these communities began with an incident of gender-based violence. The Nova Scotia attack began with intimate-partner violence. At the end of it, over 20 people had lost their lives.

At OCRCC, we are well-aware that gender-based violence in all its forms presents the real possibility of lethal violence. In the last year, Ontario Association of Interval & Transition Houses (OAITH) notes that 37 women died in Ontario as a result of intimate partner violence[1]. The Canadian Women’s Foundation, in addition, states that, on average, a woman is killed by her intimate partner in Canada every six days[2].

Women’s Shelter Canada acknowledged the realities of gender-based violence in their recent statement concerning the Nova Scotia event:

“We are saddened but in no way shocked to hear mainstream media now confirming that violence against women lay at the heart of this heinous crime. Nor did we consider it ‘senseless’ in view of the unconfirmed reporting happening almost immediately in the aftermath of the attack, pointing to domestic violence as a main motive…We must not dilute this problem by speaking of a single act of rage but rather recognize that male violence is part of a bigger social problem of entitlement and toxic masculinity. We need to recognize the underlying attitudes and beliefs that tolerate and normalize smaller acts of violence against women and perpetuate an environment that leads to deadly outcomes.” — Women’s Shelters Canada

We are also well-aware that rural communities face particular realities related to crime that their urban counterparts do not[3]. Incidents of violence – including gender-based violence, like domestic and sexual violence – often present particular challenges, vulnerabilities and risks to rural-situated victims.

The violent attack in Nova Scotia echoes some of these realities.

We believe that violence cannot be separated from a broader context – one in which those who are harmed, those that perpetrate harm, and the violation itself exist in a larger system of social norms and inequities.

​We offer our deepest condolences to the loved ones of those lost in the recent attack. We stand in solidarity with the community, and with our allies who support peace, compassion and working together for a world without violence.


[1] Ontario Association of Interval & Transition Houses (OAITH). Femicide in Ontario: #30YearsAndStillCounting. Online: https://www.oaith.ca/assets/files/Femicide%20Bios%202018-19%20Nov%2024%202019.pdf

[2] Gunraj, Andrea and Jessica Howard for Canadian Women’s Foundation. April 9, 2020. Why is the COVID-19 Pandemic Linked to More Gender-Based Violence?. Online: https://canadianwomen.org/blog/covid-19-pandemic-gender-based-violence/

[3] Fraser, J. PhD Candidate, Department of Criminology, University of Ottawa. 2011. Rural Crime Prevention: A Literature Review for Crime Prevention Ottawa: 2.

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