Mr. Speaker, recently I had the opportunity to meet with one my constituents, Ms. Ina Mitchell, who, through her personal experience, brought the issue of violence against women to my attention once again.
Violence against women is a persistent and ongoing problem in Canada and, indeed, around the world. It affects women's social and economic equality, physical and mental health, well-being and economic security. Women experiencing such abuse are often forced to flee their homes with their children.
It is interesting to note that, on average, 82% of those women seeking temporary shelter are doing so as a direct result of abuse.
The majority of victims of spousal assault do not seek support from the criminal justice system. Why? The Canadian Criminal Code has no specific offence of violence against women or spousal assault.
It took a great deal of courage for Ms. Mitchell to come forward to authorities and when she finally did she did not get the treatment and resolve she deserved.
I say to all my fellow parliamentarians that it is time for us to take a stand on violence against women and to include this heinous crime within our Criminal Code.