Amid a year of record violence, shooting survivors struggle to rebuild their lives

CBC Toronto's After the Bullet series explored the immense challenges faced by those who survive shootings in Toronto.

CBC Toronto's After the Bullet series looked at what happens to shooting survivors

After the Bullet: Toronto survivors of gun violence in their own words

4 years ago
Duration 13:26
Six survivors of gun violence in Toronto share the physical, mental and financial burdens that come after being shot. CBC Toronto's Farrah Merali sat down with all six people in Oct. 2018.

A year of record-setting violence in Toronto has put a spotlight on homicides and, most especially, deaths from shootings in 2018. 

While fatal shootings draw the most media attention, many gunshot victims survive the ordeal. Studies from the United States, for example, suggest that up to 80 per cent of victims who arrive at hospital with a heartbeat will live to see another day.

Those who manage to survive often face a traumatic, expensive and profoundly lonely path to recovery. The number of incidents in Toronto this year — 406 shootings with 573 different victims to date — has strained social services to a breaking point and forced communities to find their own ways of helping survivors. 

The ferocity of gun violence this year has also pushed Toronto to confront some ugly truths about its root causes, poverty and systemic racism among them.

CBC Toronto spoke with shooting survivors who described lives marked by chronic physical pain, psychological trauma and social isolation. We also featured community advocates trying to make life in Toronto safer for new generations. 

Watch a video edit of CBC Toronto's After the Bullet series above or read the longform print piece here


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