A spike in violent domestic assaults on woman in B.C. in recent weeks, including three fatal attacks, have prompted calls for more action to protect vulnerable women.
On Monday, Richmond resident Jian Hua Wu, 41, was charged with the second-degree murder of his wife after she was found dead in their apartment block. The gruesome crime scene extended into the communal hallway, making it necessary to evacuate other residents by ladder.
On April 4, Andre Harvey Richard, 44, was charged with three counts of attempted murder and arson for allegedly attacking his ex-wife and setting her Langley house on fire while she was inside with her two children. All managed to escape. Police say Richard had violated a no contact order.
On April 14 East Vancouver resident Ka Chi David Siu, 33, was charged with second-degree murder in the death of his mother and the attempted murder of her granddaughter.
The attack, which was described by a paramedic as "a bloodbath," left 63-year-old Yin Nor Hsao dead, and her toddler granddaughter in hospital with potentially 'life-altering" injuries. Police said Siu had mental health issues.
On April 16, a 23-year-old woman was seriously injured in a stabbing incident, and her 18-month-old baby was taken. The father of the child, Troy Alexander Perrin was charged with attempted murder, assault and abduction and breach of a no-contact order.
On April 21, Angila Wilson, a nurse in Clearwater, B.C., was found dead in her home. Her former partner was arrested later that day after a seven-hour standoff with police who recommended charges of first-degree murder.
More needs to be done
Though arrests were made in each of these cases, advocates are calling for more work on prevention.
Vancouver Rape Relief frontline worker Jacquie Lewis says more needs to be done to protect women.
"There's a lot of things they can do to send the right message," she says. "That they take women seriously in these cases, that they're actually following their Violence Against Women in Relationship policy— we don't often see that happen. And we'd really like them to arrest men and to get protection orders for women."
In five of the cases, two protection orders were in place. Lewis says vulnerable women also need greater help in the courts, where cuts to legal aid have hurt their days in court.
"A large barrier — sometimes there are many barriers — to leave a violent relationship, is being afraid that a custody battle is going to take your children away."
In Canada an average of 50 women are killed by their intimate partners each year, according to Vancouver Rape Relief.