Toronto Star article: ‘We haven’t come very far’ – YWCA Toronto and women’s shelters call on government to address root causes of Polytechnique massacre anniversary

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Luke’s Place Legal Director, Pamela Cross, was interviewed for a Toronto Star article on the anniversary of the Polytechnique massacre. The article reflects on the massacre and highlights the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women and their safety.

“There were a whole lot of factors that combined when the pandemic first hit that put women still living with their abuser in a very vulnerable position,” said Pamela Cross, legal director at Luke’s Place, which provides free legal services to women in or exiting abusive relationships.

Cross said that wait times at Luke’s virtual legal clinic have doubled in the last month. “So the increase in demand that we saw early in the pandemic hasn’t lessened.”

Governments should have consulted experts in gender-based violence from the earliest days of the pandemic to try to mitigate the impact of lockdowns and other public health measures on vulnerable women, Cross said.

“It’s clear from the numbers — not just in Canada, but everywhere in the world — that women have really paid the price for the shelter-at-home protocols,” she said.

The article continues,

“If this virus goes away, if we get a vaccine, violence against women is still going to be with us,” she said. “So on Sunday I’m going to be thinking about what more can we all be doing so that a year from now instead of the rate of violence against women having gone up, maybe it’s gone down.”

Read the full article on The Toronto Star website.