The Current

The War At Home: Canada's failure to help women flee partner violence

Canada's troubling responses to domestic violence are exposed in a new documentary and how the judicial system fails when charging in cases of gender-based violence.
The War At Home documents the stories of women who have experienced the far-too-common terror of domestic violence. (CBC Firsthand)

In Canada, a woman is murdered by her intimate partner once every six days. In Canada's last decade, more women were killed by their partner than soldiers killed in Afghanistan.

These two statistics are in the new documentary, The War At Home, which premieres tonight on CBC. The stories of women like Cristin Hepting and Lani Elliott, who know the fear of not feeling safe inside their own home, are told in the doc. Unfortunately, their friend, Celeste Yawney, did not have the opportunity to tell her tale — her boyfriend was charged for her murder last year. 

Shelley Saywell is the director of The War At Home, a documentary in which domestic violence is referred to as a "personalized terrorism." (CBC Firsthand)

Even when women report such violence, justice does not come easily. The majority of these cases end in a conditional discharge or peace bond, and judges have even made comments trivializing the experiences of these women.

When one of the women in our film is battered and bruised to the point where it takes two pages to document that, and he gets a $50 fine, which is a smaller fine than we've had on parking tickets — I don't know what's going on.- Shelley Saywell on why there needs to be a national strategy to handle domestic violence- Shelley Saywell on why there needs to be a national strategy to handle domestic violence

Guests in this segment:

This segment was produced by The Current's Pacinthe Mattar.