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Brampton Declares Gender and Intimate Partner Violence an Epidemic

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In a unanimous decision at Brampton’s Committee of Council meeting today (June 21), the city has voted to declare gender-based violence and intimate partner violence an epidemic. The motion, put forth by Brampton Councillors Navjit Kaur Brar and Rowena Santos, aligns Brampton with 24 other municipalities and regions in Ontario that have already taken this important step.

Brar emphasized that femicide often stems from gender-based violence and abuse, highlighting the need for a system that takes claims of abuse, harassment, and stalking more seriously. The recent tragic deaths of women in Brampton and Mississauga compelled the city to take action.

One such incident involved Davinder Kaur, who lost her life on May 19 in Brampton’s Sparrow Park, reportedly stabbed multiple times by Nav Nishan Singh, identified as her estranged husband. Rebecca Pacheco, the Public Education and Community Collaboration coordinator for Peel Committee Against Women Abuse (PCAWA), emphasized the urgency of the issue, stating that femicide and gender-based violence are occurring within Brampton and the broader community.

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Pacheco revealed that two femicides have already occurred in Peel Region this year, with four taking place last year. Other reported cases include the shooting death of Pawanpreet Kaur, a Brampton woman killed while working at a Mississauga Petro-Canada gas station in December, and the stabbing death of Chandanpreet Kaur at a busy Mississauga Canadian Tire.

Pacheco called for formal recognition of intimate partner violence and gender-based violence as an epidemic to raise awareness and prompt action. Sharon Mayne Devine, CEO of Catholic Family Services, Safe Centre of Peel, shared that more women are now coming forward to seek help and emphasized that women should not blame themselves for the abuse they endure.

As awareness grows and more women seek support, Santos acknowledged the need for increased funding. She noted that the lack of safe spaces contributes to the rise in violence, highlighting the importance of adequate funding for such initiatives. Santos also mentioned that with the formal declaration of an epidemic, requests for funding and support will carry more weight.

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