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Ontario woman’s death highlights domestic violence threat during pandemic | CBC News

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Audrey Hopkinson would have turned 34 immediately, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

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It is also the day the Ontario Affiliation of Interval and Transition Homes publishes its annual femicide list. This 12 months, Hopkinson’s identify can be on that checklist. 

Hopkinson was a nurse and a mother in Brockville, Ont. She was anticipating her third baby when she was killed in her house on April 1 by her associate, who then killed himself, in keeping with Brockville police.

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Girls report that they had hassle leaving their communities and couldn’t get away from companions. This solely elevated the violence as ladies have been trapped.– Girls’s Shelters Canada nationwide survey

It occurred lower than a month into the pandemic lockdown in Ontario. The week earlier than, the World Well being Group (WHO) warned the pandemic could “exacerbate risks of violence for women.”

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“As distancing measures are put in place and persons are inspired to remain at house, the chance of intimate associate violence is prone to enhance,” the WHO acknowledged in a report launched March 26.

‘We have been like sisters’

Melissa Adams, a detailed pal and colleague of Hopkinson at Brockville Normal Hospital, met her in coaching and the 2 have been in a while maternity depart on the identical time.

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“She was a gorgeous soul,” stated Adams. “She was the kind of individual that may at all times bear in mind your birthday, any particular events, and he or she would at all times do one thing particular…. We have been like sisters.” 

However Adams stated Hopkinson’s new associate quickly alienated her and different shut buddies.

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Hopkinson, left, and Melissa Adams, proper, skilled as nurses collectively and took maternity depart on the identical time. (Submitted by Melissa Adams)

Hopkinson lived near the Leeds and Grenville Interval Home in Brockville, however in keeping with its government director, Chalene Catchpole, she by no means sought out the shelter’s providers. 

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Catchpole stated it was “so unhappy and such an terrible time with all of the messaging round: keep at house, keep at house.” She stated the killing on this small, japanese Ontario metropolis had a right away influence on ladies — even these who by no means knew Hopkinson.

“Our telephone traces at that time exploded. I needed to re-deploy a few of our workers to come back in and help on the telephone, as a result of our workers who have been working within the shelter weren’t capable of sustain,” stated Catchpole.

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Disturbing developments’ in violence

Girls’s Shelters Canada launched its national survey of shelters and transition homes on Wednesday. 

The examine notes that violence in opposition to ladies (VAW) shelters are working in ever-changing environments as a result of COVID-19.

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Feedback obtained from VAW companies reveal “disturbing developments within the violence front-line employees have been seeing, together with a rise in bodily assaults (particularly stabbing, strangulation and damaged bones), compelled confinement, sexual violence, emotional and monetary abuse, elevated human trafficking and an general larger frequency of abuse in all varieties,” in keeping with the examine.

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Adams stated she and Hopkinson, left, have been ‘like sisters.’ (Submitted by Melissa Adams)

The report additionally expresses particular issues about rural, distant and Indigenous ladies, who aren’t at all times capable of depart their remoted communities.

“Girls report that they had hassle leaving their communities and couldn’t get away from companions. This solely elevated the violence as ladies have been trapped,” notes the report.

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Ottawa Morning6:35A brand new report out by Girls’s Shelters Canada

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The pandemic is making it more durable for girls and kids struggling abuse to depart their houses and their abusers. A brand new report out by Girls’s Shelters Canada tells us how shelters throughout this nation try to assist. 6:35

Rallying cry 

Adams stated she’ll by no means recover from the lack of her pal however hopes Hopkinson’s dying can function a rallying cry for others. She had this message for different ladies who’re remoted and are being managed or abused by companions.

“Attain for that hope, as a result of there’s a hand on the opposite aspect ready to assist. That is why they’ve these disaster hotlines,” stated Adams. 

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Colleagues at Brockville Normal Hospital arrange this memorial after Hopkinson was killed. (Submitted by Melissa Adams)

In the meantime, she stated the group of colleagues at Brockville Normal Hospital can be struggling a loss. 

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Hopkinson “is our guardian angel. We’ve got lanyards now that we put on [commemorating her],” Adams stated. “She lives on inside our hospital and inside every of us…. She was an incredible nurse, an incredible mother and I used to be blessed to have her as a pal.” 

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Ottawa Morning5:54Brockville mourns ‘a gorgeous soul’ misplaced to home violence

She was a nurse, mom and pal to many in Brockville. In the present day, her identify is one on an extended checklist of ladies who have been killed prior to now 12 months – many by home violence, which has gotten worse because the begin of the pandemic. 5:54


For those who or somebody you already know is experiencing abuse, there are assets accessible at ShelterSafe.

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