When it comes to domestic violence, Agape House in Steinbach is noticing a concerning trend. 

Executive director Tracy Whitby says that during her time working at the shelter for over a decade, she has noticed an increase in the number of cases where domestic violence is only part of the issue. 

“It's often addictions, there's mental health, there's all of those different pieces, so it makes it challenging to address.” 

Whitby appreciates the various groups that are working together to address the issues. 

“I think what we're seeing more and more, and I'm happy that we're moving in this direction, that collaboration between different organizations, different resources, different agencies. I think we need to work together to address this. It's becoming an epidemic. It's something that's growing and getting worse and worse. So, we need to work together and put all of our skills and strengths together to see how we offer wrap around services or how we offer wrap around solutions. We can't just work in silos anymore.” 

For anyone needing information on how to support someone in a situation of gender-based, domestic or family violence, Whitby encourages them to contact Agape House at 1-877-977-0007 or 1-204-346-0028 to get ideas on how to help. 

This past fall, Statistics Canada released updated information regarding domestic violence. It reports that in 2022, there were 129,876 victims of police-reported family violence and 117,093 victims of intimate partner violence aged 12 years and older. 

“The rate of family violence was more than two times higher among women and girls (455) than among men and boys (215). Meanwhile, the rate of intimate partner violence was more than three times higher among women and girls (537) than among men and boys (151).” 

The report also stated that from 2014 to 2022, family violence against children and youth increased 38% (+43% among girls and +27% among boys). 

Provincial rates of police-reported family violence and intimate partner violence highest in Saskatchewan and Manitoba 

In 2022, Saskatchewan (730 victims per 100,000 population) and Manitoba (585) had the highest provincial rates of police-reported family violence and intimate partner violence (732 for Saskatchewan and 633 for Manitoba), similar to police-reported crime overall. Meanwhile, the lowest rates were in Ontario (221 for family violence, 257 for intimate partner violence) and Prince Edward Island (251 for family violence, 247 for intimate partner violence). - 150.statcan.gc.ca 

Whitby says we can make it a bit easier for victims of violence to get help by creating a safe place for them to talk about the issue. 

“When we open up that conversation and we shed light on that topic, that helps," she says. "So, definitely spreading the word, sharing the message, being a safe place. If you think something's going on and you're not sure what to do, always feel welcome to call our crisis line and we can speak to you about ideas and maybe different solutions on what you can do and how you can address the situation or help the person that's individualized to that situation.”