An estimated five to 10 incidents of honour-based violence took place in the capital last year, according to officials, and now the Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre is receiving funding to help young women suffering in silence.
“People don’t talk about it. It’s an issue of, like most gender violence or domestic violence, where people won’t want to necessarily shame people in their family,” said Tara Henderson from the crisis centre.
“It involves love and familial bonds and that’s a tough thing to condemn people in your family, or to villainize your own family.”
Federal Minister of Status of Women Kellie Leitch made the funding announcement of $74,259 at Carleton University, where the crisis centre is based.
“The estimated annual cost of spousal violence against women alone is close to $4.8 billion dollars — an astounding number,” said Leitch.
The 18-month project is targeting young women ages 14 to 20.
“So this is a very vulnerable population, this is a very specific project targeting a very specific issue,” said Leitch.
NDP Status of Women critic Niki Ashton was quick to blast the feds.
“The Conservative government can’t be taken seriously on this issue. Their record speaks for itself — closing Status of Women Offices, gutting pay equity legislation, re-opening the abortion debate”¦the list goes on,” Ashton said.
“New funding is needed to end violence against women across Canadian society.”
Ottawa Police don’t track honour-based violence when dealing with domestic calls, said Const. Chuck Benoit, pointing out the estimate from 2012 only reflects reported cases.
Nonetheless, ”we’re looking to engage institutions in Ottawa and get a sense of how much it’s actually happening,” said Henderson.
Crisis centre staff will be able to “turn this knowledge into action,” said board president Kim Dalgleish.