Media Advisory - Toronto's Largest Women's Organization Calls on Provincial Candidates to Address Violence Against Women in their Platforms and Funding

    TORONTO, Oct. 4 /CNW/ - YWCA Toronto, the city's largest multi-service
organization by, for and about women and girls is stunned by the 64th and 65th
murders of the year, two women both under the age of 30, but is not surprised
that not one political candidate has addressed how his party will work to end
violence against women in the province. One victim, Jocelyn Dulnuan, a
27- year-old woman living as domestic worker in a tony Mississauga
neighbourhood, the other 25-year-old Aysuen Sesen, was seven months pregnant
when she was allegedly stabbed to death by her common law husband.
    The details of these crimes speak to the overwhelming swell of systemic
violence against women in our city, and a missed opportunity for Ontario's
provincial candidates to address the issue of violence against women in their
campaigns. In fact, party leaders have been conspicuously silent on issues of
violence against women, focusing instead on publicly decrying gangs, guns and
the importance of community crime prevention, rather than addressing the root
causes of woman abuse - including inadequate affordable housing, income
inequality, and lack of access to affordable child care.
    "At YWCA Toronto we see causes of violence against women as they affect
each of the services we provide," says YWCA Toronto Chief Executive Officer
Heather McGregor. "We see the connections between abuse and the factors that
prevent women from leaving abusive partners including insufficient
post- shelter funding; inadequate access to safe, affordable and permanent
housing; and the overwhelming lack of affordable, high-quality childcare. With
a week left before Ontarians head to the polls, what are the parties'
positions on the development of a more effective domestic violence action

    Some facts to consider from YWCA Canada (

    -   In Ontario, between 1995 and 2005, 231 women were murdered by their
        partners or former partners, many of whom then killed themselves.
        From January to November 2006, 24 women and 12 children in Ontario
        were murdered in acts of violence against women. Unfortunately, these
        numbers - in Ontario and across Canada, are not decreasing;
    -   Canada's more than 550 shelters for battered women remain full; many
        with waiting lists;
    -   According to a recently released study by Statistics Canada,
        approximately one in ten abused women use a shelter;
    -   The same report found that approximately 100,000 women and children
        used battered women's shelters in the 12 month period beginning April
        12, 2005;
    -   Ontario's Domestic Violence Death Review Committee, which reports to
        the Office of the Chief Coroner, noted in its 2004 report that 100%
        of the victims in the cases it reviewed were women and 91% of the
        perpetrators were men, concluding that domestic violence is not
        gender neutral. The most common risk factor was actual or pending
        separation, followed closely by a prior history of violence, which
        was present in 8 of the 11 cases reviewed by the committee in its
        first year.

    The brutal murders of Jocelyn Dulnuan and Aysuen Sesen serve to remind
all Ontarians that the root causes of violence against women deserve the same
media and political attention given to other aspects of the provincial
election campaign. YWCA Toronto urges provincial candidates to hear this
message and begin to address in their platforms the conditions that trap women
and children in violent homes. Adequate child care, employment supports,
anti-discrimination laws, affordable and permanent housing, and an end to the
baby bonus clawback are just some of the issues that parties should be
focusing on in the remaining campaign period.

    YWCA Toronto is a turning point in the lives of more than 26,000 across
the Greater Toronto Area. We help women achieve equality, economic
independence and lives free from violence through our four program areas:
housing and support, employment and skills development, girls' and family
programs, and advocacy. We welcome women of all faiths, sexual orientations,
races, cultural affiliations and creeds.

    Between October 15-20th YWCA Toronto will host its 11th annual Week
Without Violence, a weeklong series of free events throughout the GTA aimed at
eradicating violence and envisioning peaceful communities including: girlJAM5,
an all-ages festival of music aimed at raising awareness about violence in
young women's lives; Bully2U, a speaker, author and performance series for
400  high school students on violence and bullying in popular culture; BU: The
Power of Being a Girl, an all-day conference for 200 girls and young women
ages 14-22 on anti-violence, self empowerment and self care at the North York
Civic Centre; and a host of other internal events for women in YWCA Toronto
shelters and after shelter programs. For more information visit

    For information or to arrange an interview contact Corinne Rusch-Drutz,
    Director of Advocacy & Communications, 416.961.8101. x 350

    October 14 to 20, 2007
    Imagine a Week Without Violence

For further information:

For further information: Raine Liliefeldt, Marketing and Media
Coordinator, Advocacy & Communications, YWCA Toronto, A Turning Point for
Women, 80 Woodlawn Ave E, Toronto, ON, M4T 1C1, T (416) 961-8100 x 326, F
(416) 961-7739,,

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