City of Waterloo council approves motion declaring intimate partner violence an epidemic

The council for the City of Waterloo have unanimously passed a motion to declare intimate partner violence (IPV) an epidemic.

It joins more than 45 other municipalities in the province to do so, including the councils for Kitchener, Cambridge and the Region of Waterloo. The region passed their motion last month.

Ward 6 Councillor Mary Lou Roe brought the motion forward to council and said declaring IPV an epidemic will keep it on the agenda at local, provincial and federal levels.

“Intimate partner violence will not go away on its own,” she said. “It needs continued attention, support and action. Accepting this motion is a concrete step in that direction.”

Between 2012-2022, Waterloo Regional Police responded to 10,134 calls related to IPV and laid 5,102 charges in the city of Waterloo. In comparison with the region, there was more than 66,000 calls and 35,000 charges laid across the region in the same time period.

“It is shocking to hear about what is happening, not only what is happening in the city of Waterloo, but in the region as well,” said Waterloo Mayor Dorothy McCabe.

The motion also called for Ontario to official declare an epidemic as well. The province refused to do so in June 2022 following an inquiry into the deaths of three women killed by the same intimate partner in 2015. The inquiry gave 86 recommendations, with the first being to declare IPV an epidemic.

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