Nova Scotia

Friend of N.S. woman who died last week urges domestic violence victims to ask for help

The friend of a Nova Scotia woman who died last week in what prosecutors are calling a domestic homicide is urging people in abusive relationships to reach out for help.

'I hope that they get the courage to reach out to somebody,' says friend of Tracey MacKenzie

Friend of N.S. woman who died last week speaks out

CBC News Nova Scotia

1 year ago
1:45
The friend of a Hammonds Plains, N.S. woman who died last week is urging victims of domestic violence to reach out for help. Preston Mulligan reports. 1:45

The friend of a Nova Scotia woman who died last week in what prosecutors are calling a domestic homicide is urging people in abusive relationships to reach out for help.

Police were called to a home on Glen Arbour Way in Hammonds Plains, N.S., on Thursday afternoon and found Tracey MacKenzie's body.

They arrested Stephen Beckett, 45, at the home and he was taken into custody without incident. He was charged Friday with second-degree murder.

Police were called to a home on Glen Arbour Way in Hammonds Plains, N.S., last Thursday, and found the body of Tracey MacKenzie. (David Laughlin/CBC)

Last week, a spokesperson for the Public Prosecution Service called the case a domestic homicide.

Gerald McCowan, a friend to both MacKenzie and Beckett, said the two were dating for about 18 months. He said he worried about MacKenzie.

"I just figured it wasn't going to end well," McCowan said.

"I didn't think it was violence or anything like that, but I've seen Mr. Beckett several times get to a point where, not violent, but he gets very, I don't know what the word to use [is], but it's up there with violence."

Over the weekend, the United Nations appealed to men everywhere to guarantee the safety of the women and girls with whom they share a home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"For many women and girls, the threat looms largest where they should be safest. In their own homes," said secretary-general António Guterres.

He said there's been "a horrifying global surge in domestic violence."

Shiva Nourpanah, the provincial co-ordinator with the Transition House Association of Nova Scotia, said it's important for women to know there are shelters that are open during the pandemic and ready to help women who are in danger.

"You don't have your normal safe places. If you used to visit your parents, if you used to go out, we know your normal relief activities have been very strictly curtailed," Nourpanah said.

"The odds are stacked against victims of violence. This is absolutely a recipe for disaster."

Shiva Nourpanah is the Transition House Association of Nova Scotia's provincial co-ordinator. (CBC)

The UN is calling for more spending on services, declaring shelters as essential services, making sure judicial systems continue to persecute abusers, and to avoid releasing prisoners convicted of violence against women.

Premier Stephen McNeil said on Monday that the province "will do everything we can" to support organizations that help women and children.

"Domestic violence happens in Nova Scotia, even without a pandemic. And now with the kind of pressure this pandemic puts on families, it even makes it more difficult," McNeil said at a news conference.

"We're worried about women and children who find themselves in a violent situation."

Gerald McCowan is urging women in abusive relationships to reach out for help, after his friend, Tracey MacKenzie, died in what prosecutors are calling a case of domestic homicide. (CBC)

McCowan said he wishes his friend had spoken out or left. He urges all women and men in the same position to do the same.

"I hope that they get the courage to reach out to somebody and ask for help," he said.

If you are facing intimate partner violence, here are some N.S. resources that can help.

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