In recent months, Mississauga and the Greater Toronto Area have seen a significant increase in domestic violence calls. This is primarily because victims of domestic abuse are at home now more than ever.
According to the Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses (OAITH), that run shelters to help protect abused women and their children, 20 per cent of their organizations are getting more calls. At the same time, OAITH locations in Windsor and British Columbia are receiving double their usual calls.
Moreover, when local news reached out to police forces across the GTA, York Regional Police stated that calls related to domestic incidents had grown upwards of 22 per cent. This has led the public to believe there is a correlation between having to stay at home due to the quarantine and domestic abuse.
Lise Martin, the executive director of Women’s Shelters Canada, goes as far as to call the Covid-19 situation “an enormous pressure cooker,” which aggravates domestic violence situations.
Women are unable to reach out for support from friends due to quarantine limitations. Social activities, such as going to the grocery store or out for a walk, were once venues that domestic violence victims could reach out for help. Now, due to the pandemic, victims are restricted to their homes alongside their abusers.
Canada’s minister for women and gender equality, Maryam Monsef, commented on the link between Covid-19 and the rise in domestic violence calls in an interview with CBC News. “What the pandemic has done with the self-isolation measures, with the closures of some of the support systems, is create a powder keg,” stated Monsef.
The pandemic has shone a light on these domestic abuse cases in a way that would not be possible without the circumstances created by quarantine limitations. Monsef went to state that, “in some places, the calls for help have gone up by 400 per cent,” referring to a shelter in the GTA.
The recent increases in domestic violence cases worldwide have led the United Nations to call for immediate action to stop the ongoing violence and aid victims.
Mississauga has also recently seen its fair share of increased crime, in general, beyond domestic abuse cases. On September 19, local police services found a deceased male body near a creek by the Dixie and Dundas intersection. A coroner who was present on the scene said there is no reason to speculate that the death is “suspicious in nature.”
Alongside a potential murder case in Mississauga, an increased police presence was seen by many residents in the Bristol and Creditview areas on September 16. Three different police forces were present— the Ontario Provincial Police, the Peel Regional Police, and the Waterloo Police—on a search for four suspects of a robbery in Cambridge. All four suspects have since been apprehended and charged.
Upsetting speculations are also being made in Toronto with the possibility of a serial killer on the loose. Recently, two fatal stabbings were reported in Toronto that urged the police to publicize the suspect’s information and warned the public to be “aware of their surroundings.”
The police cannot confirm whether the two stabbing cases are connected. However, they are taking precautions and have since brought on Inspector Hank Idsinga, who is considered to be Toronto’s best investigator on serial homicide cases.
A hate crime element is reportedly involved in the two stabbings, with both victims being from vulnerable communities. The first victim was a homeless man living under a bridge and a caretaker at a mosque. The homicides happened within five days of each other and a five-kilometer radius. Due to their proximity, both time and location-wise, police cannot rule out the possible connection yet.
There is undoubtedly a surge of violent crimes in both the GTA and Mississauga areas connected to the Covid-19 pandemic and unrelated. As people continue to stay at home and social distance, safety remains of the utmost importance for the community.