I want to thank Lezlie Lowe for "Is she safe?" (January 14). It is important that the media provides informative articles on the issue of violence against women and uncover the stories of women who have been harmed.
I want to clarify a point raised in the article about the number of women on the high-risk list in Nova Scotia. The number is actually higher than 132 women---that number only reflects women living in Halifax, Dartmouth and Bedford. There is a list for women living in communities in northeastern, southwestern and central Nova Scotia, as well as Cape Breton.
The question has been raised whether all women living with abuse are at risk of being killed at some point. Many researchers and activists believe so. What is essential is to let women know there are resources and information available to help them. All the transition houses in Nova Scotia have 24-hour hotlines where women can call for information and receive support. Women's centres in communities across Nova Scotia and universities provide support and information to women about abuse
There are great information resources available on the website of the Advisory Council on the Status of Women (women.gov.ns.ca/pubViolence.asp). Another website is the Legal Information Society of Nova Scotia (legalinfo.org),which has some excellent information on woman abuse and the legal system.
Calling the police may be another resource for some women. Police in Nova Scotia have a pro-arrest, pro-charge response to domestic violence. Police will lay charges when there are reasonable grounds to believe an offence has taken place. Some police departments in Nova Scotia have a Victim Services Unit which can provide information to women.
Research shows that 60 to 70 percent of women turn to family and friends when they are being abused. If we can inform family and friends of the resources for women living with abuse we may be able to prevent future violence. Knowledge is power and there can never be too much education and information on violence against women. —Verona Singer,
coordinator, victim services,
Halifax Regional Police