Keeping Up Is Hard to Do:
A Trial Judge’s Reading Blog



Volume 3 Chapter 10:

The United Nations declared gender-based violence to be a global pandemic a decade ago. in 2022, the UN Secretary-General declared gender-based violence to be “the longest, deadliest pandemic” and called upon “every Member State to develop an emergency plan to prevent and respond to gender-based violence.” (page 274)

In 2020, 53 women, 11 of whom were indigenous, were killed by their partner in Canada. (page 278)

Our collective failure to protect women by preventing and effectively intervening and responding to gender-based, intimate partner, and family violence comes at horrendous costs. These costs are borne primarily by women but they disperse. (page 306)

Domestic violence has significant health, safety, and economic impacts. it is rooted in gender inequality, intensified by systemic inequalities, and connected to social determinants of health and conditions in relation- ships, communities, and broader society. it creates and reinforces inter- generational cycles and norms that become hard to break. (page 306)

Women who survive gender-based violence experience a range of negative health effects. Some of the physical effects of assaults are visible, but they may be more extensive than we realize because this area has not been sufficiently studied. in contrast, in their final submissions, the Elizabeth Fry Society of Mainland Nova Scotia cite a number of researchers regarding “the strong link between violent victimization and poor psychological well-being,” noting that “experiencing violence is strongly correlated to the use of mental health services.” The psychological impacts of domestic violence on victims have been well documented and identified as a reliable risk factor for the development of various psychological and psychiatric disorders. The Society cites additional research showing that these negative psychological outcomes are most prevalent among older domestic violence victims and those who experience more severe forms of abuse.  In addition, as the severity of domestic violence experienced increases, so do symptoms of mental illness. (page 307)

Children exposed to gender-based, intimate partner, and family violence may experience trauma symptoms, including post-traumatic stress disorder and may experience long-lasting effects on their development, health, and well- being. For example, one study found that exposure to intimate partner violence has “long-lasting effects on a child’s socio-emotional and neurological development.” Although the adverse impact of chronic neglect or child abuse has been extensively studied and is well known, the negative consequences of exposure to intimate partner violence are less well understood. (page 307)

Gender-based, intimate partner, and family violence are life-threatening and life- taking, for reasons that include their potential to escalate to mass casualties. These forms of violence have horrendous impacts on women survivors and their children and other dependants (other family members, pets, and livestock). These effects broaden out – harming individuals, families, communities, and society as whole. They result in incalculable direct and indirect financial costs to individuals and the public purse. Furthermore, gender-based violence is a barrier to women’s equality and self-determination. Violence against women enforces gender roles and norms and contributes to maintaining women at a social and economic disadvantage relative to men. All these impacts and costs are disproportionately visited on marginalized women, families, and communities and reinforce systemic racism and other inequalities. These heightened inequalities also come at a monumental societal cost. (page 307)